If the SuperSonics move to Oklahoma City (likely), and the name is left in Seattle as part of a negotiated settlement (likely), let me start the debate on a new name for OKC's team.
There will be other ideas.
89ers, though don't bet on that, since Clay Bennett scrapped that name from the minor-league baseball team a decade ago.
Wildcatters, which would play to the oil industry and wouldn't even be confused for Wildcats, since there are no major-league Wildcats in American sport, remarkably enough.
Bandits. Outlaws. Jellicle Cats. All kinds of names will be trotted out.
I like Thunderbirds.
Thunderbirds honors Oklahoma's historic 45th Infantry Division, which long ago adopted the mythical bird as a symbol, and also plays to Oklahoma's American Indian heritage
As an old newspaperman, I like it because it's got all kinds of derivatives. T-Birds. Birds. Thunders. You need that for headline purposes. You can do a lot with Thunderbirds, .
Thunderbirds works politically, too, I would assume, since they are myths, and how can you offend something that doesn't exist?
Marketing? It's a slam dunk. The Thunderbirds playing in the Ford Center? What could be more natural? I know, I know, the Ford Center name is up for grabs if a major-league franchise moves in, but how could Ford — the Oklahoma dealers or the national boys — resist paying big bucks if shiny new T-Birds sat in the lobby and dunking T-Birds were out on the court?
The floor is open. But my vote, for now, goes to Thunderbirds.