No one seems exactly sure how ESPN The Magazine's Ultimate Standings are derived, but it sure is nice to be ranked No. 1.
The Mag placed the Thunder atop the 2012 Ultimate Standings as the best among 122 professional sports franchises in North America.
Much appreciated and all that, but, um, what exactly did the Thunder do to warrant such praise?
No one within the OKC organization seemed quite sure what to say publicly when news broke Thursday afternoon. Flattered and humbled as staff members were, no one could pinpoint precisely how it all fell into place.
Ownership chairman Clay Bennett shared the following statement Sunday: “The Thunder is humbled and honored to be recognized by our fans in this way. It is a testament to our players and the connection they have established with the community, on and off the court. It is also a reflection of everyone within the Thunder organization and the commitment they have made to provide a first-class fan experience. We never take that support for granted and offer a tremendous thank you to our loyal fans.”
It's safe to assume it'll be business as usual when employees arrive Monday morning. Thunder headquarters isn't exactly celebration station. Anyone caught turning cartwheels down the hallway will summarily be chastised.
The Mag claims the Ultimate Standings were created “to determine which teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL offer the greatest rewards for all the emotion, money and time that fans invest in them.”
How these calculations are measured is subjective, which means interpretations vary. The Mag essentially took a big vat of goo and attempted to mold it, shape it, refine it and define it.
Perhaps the best way to explain how OKC snared the No. 1 spot is this: Things are going pretty good with the Thunder right now; fans are ecstatic local owners brought an NBA franchise to town; the team is young, talented and plays hard; the coach seems to speak the players' language; the general manager appears to have made all the right moves; season tickets and parking don't cost an arm and a leg; the arena is paid for and getting better.