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Thunder won’t honor Sonics with NBA championship jersey tag

Jul 22, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat – Game Five Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat – Game Five

The NBA’s plan to put gold tags on the back jerseys for all franchises with NBA championships seems sort of cool and mostly inconsequential.

But it did lead to one big question: Will the Oklahoma City Thunder honor the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics’ NBA championship?

For the most part, the Thunder have built their own identity in Oklahoma City, a strategy made easier by heavy roster turnover around the time of the 2008 move. But might ignoring the title be seen as a(nother) slight to Seattle?

There’s no perfect way to handle this. Which way will the Thunder go?

Cody Stavenhagen of The Oklahoman:

Christopher Arena — the NBA’s vice president of outfitting, identity and equipment — told The Oklahoman in a phone interview Monday the Thunder will not honor the Seattle SuperSonics’ 1979 NBA title with the league’s new championship tags.

This is the right move.

The Thunder, after an acrimonious split with Seattle, have distanced themselves from their Sonics legacy. I bet Oklahoma City would even give a new Seattle franchise, if there ever is one, the Sonics’ history and records, a la New Orleans and the Hornets.

If Seattle would have gotten a new team before Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to a championship, would they have removed the gold tag? That would have been ridiculously awkward. Better to just avoid the problem now.

When the team wins a title in Oklahoma City, add the gold tag. Until then, save it for the next Seattle franchise.

  1. alexb1234 - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    good, they shouldn’t honor that championship it’s not that cities title, just like the Los Angeles Dodgers do not have the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers championship banner hanging in Los Angeles.

    • kopy - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      I’m still waiting for the Lakers to stop counting their Minneapolis championships.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM


      • loungefly74 - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        yeah…why? same franchise. the thunder is a completely different franchise from the Sonics.

      • paleihe - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:07 PM

        That makes no sense. It’s still the same franchise, same name…they just changed their business address.

      • alexb1234 - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        They can count the championships as far as when they are talking about their history and how many titles the franchise has won, however honoring a championship with a banner in that arena when that championship place in a completely different city isn’t right…’s not fair to Brooklyn, Seattle, or Minneapolis…especially Brooklyn or Seattle, neither city has seen a championship in their cities history in any sport besides those two respective titles.

      • alexb1234 - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        took place*

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        “it’s not fair to Brooklyn, Seattle, or Minneapolis…especially Brooklyn or Seattle, neither city has seen a championship in their cities history in any sport besides those two respective titles.”

        Didn’t the SeaChickens just win a Super Bowl? And the Dodgers won several World Series in Brooklyn.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        No, the Dodgers *went* to several World Series in Brooklyn. 1955 was the only time they won.

  2. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    lol, and if they DID wear it someone would say it’s disrespectful because they “stole” the franchise. This is a lose/lose spot for them, and either way someone would have been offended by their choice.

  3. shadowgamesshades - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    It is the right thing to do. Now Thunder and Sonics fans don’t have to fight over the title. Thunder fans would rather have their own identity instead of someone else’s.

  4. jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    If I was Seattle I would tell them not to do it.

    • mazblast - Jul 23, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      Seattle does not get a vote. It was strictly OKC’s decision, and IMO the right one.

  5. titansbro - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    It’s lose/lose because of the shady back room dealings that allowed them to get the team. “Stole” is certainly the right word to use in this situation.

    • loungefly74 - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      no thumbs down for the truth! titans is right. the Sonics and their fans were bamboozled. Thunder fans may not acknowledge it but Durant was “born” in a Sonics jersey.

  6. raysfan1 - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    A gold patch/tag would be cool for the reigning champion each year, but them only.

  7. mogogo1 - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Not that it really matters. That tag was almost impossible to read in the close-up still photo they published on here a few days ago. Best of luck deciphering it as guys run up and down the floor.

  8. csbanter - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    It feels like the Sonics never existed. I guess that’s the price to pay when taxpayers refuse to be held hostage by billionaires that want them to foot the bill for new arenas.

  9. alexb1234 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    whoops forgot about the seahawks super bowl…..well for a while that Supersonics title was the only moment Seattle had to be proud of

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