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Oklahoma City Thunder: Don’t sweat “Oklahoma Thunder”

by Berry Tramel Published: June 12, 2012

You’re going to hear it during these NBA Finals. You’re going to hear it a bunch. “Oklahoma Thunder.” Magic Johnson, the weak link of ESPN’s studio analysis crew, is going to say it over and over.

Don’t let it bother you. It’s no big deal. Dropping a word from the “Oklahoma City Thunder” is no big deal.

I know the arguments. I’ve made the arguments. I know that it was Oklahoma City that stuck out its neck for the MAPS renovations. I know that it was Oklahoma City officials and businessmen who worked to make the NBA a go in the early days of the Hornets experience and the ultimate Thunder arrival.

Doesn’t matter.  No reason to get uptight. Most people call this team the Oklahoma City Thunder. This franchise has brought unparalleled positive publicity to OKC. So it’s all good.

The few cases where opposing players and media types say “Oklahoma Thunder,” well, call it a goodwill gesture to fans throughout the state. Because the Thunder has been emboldened by fans from every direction within state lines. You can read about what we called the “United State of Thunder” in Phillip O’Connor’s story in the Tuesday Oklahoman. You can find it here.

Lots of people outside the metro believe the franchise should have been called the Oklahoma Thunder. They were misguided, of course. The Thunder was not just an effort to bring great entertainment to the  state. The Thunder was an avenue for Oklahoma City to sell its story and its message — that this is a vibrant city and a great place to live — and naming the franchise Oklahoma City Thunder was absolutely mandatory.

But the state aspect — the unity the Thunder has developed — is no small thing, either, and if it brings a smile to someone in Lawton or Broken Arrow or Tishomingo when Magic Johnson says “Oklahoma Thunder,” then what’s the harm?

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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