Ball Don't Lie

Company pulls anti-Seattle, Oklahoma City Thunder T-shirts after receiving death threats

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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The jerkiest t-shirt ever (Courtesy twitter.com/warpaintrags)

The New York Times' Howard Beck, on his way from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City to cover Monday's Game 5 between the Lakers and Thunder, uncovered this rather shady T-shirt design on Sunday. The Thunder aren't exactly giving these rags out at the door, but that didn't stop our initial post on the T-shirts on Monday morning from inspiring a world of outrage on Twitter, and apparent death threats sent the way of Warpaint Clothing, the company that humorlessly put the duds together -- utilizing the former Seattle SuperSonics logo along the way. Rightfully, just one Thunder fan deciding to purchase this and pull it over their head is enough for us to break out the Patented BDL Tsk-Tsk Geiger Counter -- and as a result Warpaint has decided to stop selling the shirts because of death threats sent its way in reaction.

To reiterate, Oklahoma City didn't wrest its current team out of Seattle because 37 selected fans and civic leaders won a free-throw shooting contest. It didn't "win" the team by being the quickest to press buttons in some trivia contest at a local chicken wing joint ("PRESS 'B!' It's 'Romancing the Stone!' Hurry!"), and the presiding genius of GM Sam Presti is no reflection on either level of fandom emanating from either Oklahoma City or Seattle.

No, the current Oklahoma City Thunder are not the former Seattle SuperSonics mainly because former owner (and current Guy That Bilks You Out of Money Every Day For Your Starbucks Fix, You Silly Twit) Howard Schultz didn't think twice before selling a basketball team needing a new stadium to an ownership group from a city that had already proven it could be a fantastic host for an NBA team, with a new stadium at its disposal.

[Related: Kobe, Metta World Peace technicals bury Lakers in Game 5]

We don't think much of the Thunder owners, but we really don't think much of Howard Schultz, who completely betrayed the community that helped make him billions, all because he didn't know anything about how to run an NBA team, and because he couldn't wait an extra couple of months to find a suitable buyer that obviously wouldn't move the team from Seattle.

Current Oklahoma City Thunder fans? The city of Seattle, and former SuperSonic fans, did absolutely nothing to deserve this. In the midst of what could be a championship season, diverting attention from the franchise's ultimate goal to take a needless shot at a city and fan base that is clearly still hurting is the ultimate prick move, and we heartily encourage any mindful Thunder fans to take Twitter pictures and send them our way during Monday's Game 5; so that we can band together to shame however many morons that decide to sport these shirts.

Warpaint, through its Twitter feed, didn't exactly acquit itself well in attempting to defend the shirts it decided to print. From KIRO TV:

A few hours later, the company seemed to take a more conciliatory tone: "So much hate in the world. No disrespect meant. We appreciate where our team came from actually. Put your energy into something positive."

And later: "We r (sic) saying thank you for such a great organization. We truly appreciate and respect the city of sea (sic)."

Finally, the company said it was dropping the shirt from its website: "After receiving death threats we have decided to take the shirt down offline. Sorry if we offended you Seattle."

The shrugged shoulder approach doesn't work, here.

This doesn't fall directly in line with Miami Heat fans snarkily "thanking" Detroit Pistons backers for giving them the chance to draft Dwyane Wade, or your grandfather "thanking" his brother-in-law from Chicago because his Cubs sent Lou Brock down to St. Louis. This was an entire team that left town, and four years removed, the former Seattle SuperSonics have gone from amongst the worst in the West to a championship contender. This hurts an entire community on a far greater level than your typical, "sporting" taunt.

Death threats? Pretty stupid, Some Dudes From Seattle. This T-shirt? Pretty awful, Some Dudes From Oklahoma City.

This can be the end of this particular strain of tactlessness, right?

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