With the Sonics move from Seattle seeming to be inevitable, but the team name and colors most likely staying in Washington, the ownership group will have to get together to come up with some names and colors that will be appropriate to their style and may draw in the current NBA fan.
Not many ideas have been floated out there for the “new” team as that topic seems like the last thing the commissioner will discuss even though it is increasingly obvious that he is supporting the move.
Here are some names that the team might want to consider before taking the hard wood:
1. The Oklahoma City Tails or Knuckles
The owners may think that their old team was named after the famed Sega Genesis video game: Sonic the Hedgehog and keeping with the theme, they name the team after either Sonic’s sidekick (Tails) or his nemesis (Knuckles). It would seem more appropriate to use the enemy’s name in this case as no one in Seattle is going to be considering this new team their partner.
2. The Oklahoma City Stealers
This is not an attempt to name them after a historic professional football franchise (Pittsburgh Steelers), but an attempt to show what they are doing: stealing a team from its proper place. If they like this idea, they might also try out the Oklahoma City Thieves.
3. The Oklahoma City Tornadoes
Some teams are named for what their city (or former city in the case of the Lakers and Jazz) is most famous for. That begs the question: what is Oklahoma most famous for? Answer: Tornadoes.
4. The Oklahoma City Hurricanes
No, this is not just another suggestion to name a team after a natural disaster. This would actually mean something to those in Oklahoma City because they know if Hurricane Katrina would have never happened, they NBA would have never noticed them as a small TV market that is an obvious place to move a team.
5. The Oklahoma City Liars
Once again, if they want a name that really demonstrates their personality, they may go with this suggestion. Whether it was the e-mails, the stadium deal or just simply keeping the team in town, it seems this ownership group has done their share of it.
6. The Oklahoma City 45ers
There are already some famous teams named for numbers. There’s the NFL’s 49ers and of course the NBDL’s 14ers. The 45ers would be named as such because Oklahoma City is ranked as the 45th highest television market in the country.
7. The Oklahoma City Expansions
Yes, they may not actually be an expansion team, but they may as well be because in the eyes of long time NBA fans they are. The only people who are going to act towards this team as if they are not the new kids on the block are the people in Oklahoma City who just saw their property value sky rocket.
8. The Oklahoma City Durants
Since there’s no obvious name, why not name the team after the up and coming super star who is the only reason the Sonics were on SportsCenter during the past season besides the fact that they are leaving town.
9. The Oklahoma City Money Makers
Once the real reason for moving the team is made public (money) instead of the moaning about not having a new stadium or the support that they think is needed, they can name the team for it. That said, the new team’s fans probably should not be looking for their team to be landing in the top five of the Forbes’ list of most valuable franchises at any time.
10. The Oklahoma City West Coast Wannabes
Today’s NBA fan usually relates any abstract decisions and bad records with the Eastern Conference. While the moving Sonics are still in the Western Conference and are more west in reality than a couple other teams in the conference, their record and standing in the league would put them somewhere between the Knicks and the Bobcats.
11. The Oklahoma City Players
If they can’t come up with anything else, they could just name them what they all are: Players. A cop out like this would make sense for a team who has already copped out of a 40 year history.
The likelihood that none of these will be taken as the team name is very probable, but one has to wonder what the new team is going to be named and if they really are going to be a draw for anyone outside of Oklahoma City.
This writer can be reached by e-mail at BJordan@BusinessofSportsNetwork.com.