“I think we come from a design philosophy where not everything has to be apparent,” Arena said. “There is an element of discovery, so if you see it on the TV broadcast or when you’re in the arena you may ask the question as you go to a retail store, maybe go online and do some research on the team site, you’ll discover what it actually means.
“More than that, as the players put on the uniform, they know that there’s a legacy before them, whether it’s the players that came before them, the championships, the teams of that franchise who won a championship before them.”
The NBA logo was also moved from the front of jerseys to the back, now placed just below the collars. ESPN.com’s Paul Lukas told The Oklahoman last week that could be a move to clear space for the eventual possibility of teams wearing sponsor patches on the front of jerseys.
Although that could still be part of the decision, Arena said it was a stylistic decision to link the NBA logo with the championship marks.
“It’s the NBA championship and just linking the two together ...It was more design reasons and consistency more than anything else,” he said.
Unlike the Thunder, the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings will recognize championships won in different cities.
The St. Louis Hawks won a title in 1957-58, and the Kings won as the Rochester Royals in 1950-51.
The Thunder’s decision not to wear the tag is expected seeing as Oklahoma City doesn’t recognize the title with a banner in Chesapeake Energy Arena and has generally distanced itself from Sonics’ history.
This solidifies that stance, and leaves the Thunder searching for a title and tag to call its own.
“It’s about how the team chooses to identify themselves in the marketplace to their fans,” Arena said. “The Oklahoma City Thunder have chosen not to recognize that championship in this overt way that (the NBA has) chose.”