New Oklahoma City NBA club nicknamed Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY (TICKER) —Oklahoma City’s new NBA team officially unveiled itself Wednesday, revealing its nickname as the Thunder.

At a large rally at the city’s Leadership Square, the club formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics announced its nickname, logo and colors.

The team’s new colors are blue, red and orange, while the logo displays the club’s new nickname above a shield enclosed with a basketball emblazoned with OKC on the front.

“The bold, traditional lettering and shield of our logo have been purposefully designed with simplicity and dignity to let the power of the word ‘Thunder’ be most clearly presented,” Oklahoma City majority owner Clay Bennett said.

“This is an exciting day for the franchise,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. “The people of Oklahoma have supported us throughout this entire transition. This is their team and we feel fortunate to represent this community.”

Other nicknames considered were: Bison, Marshalls, Wind, Energy and Barons.

To finalize the move and allow Wednesday’s festivities to take place, the team reached a deal with the city of Seattle on July 2, which released the team from its lease at KeyArena and allowed Bennett to immediately move the franchise to his hometown of Oklahoma City.

The Sonics have alleged that they were losing money at KeyArena, thereby necessitating a move to Oklahoma City, which had proven itself as a viable location for professional basketball. The Hornets spent parts of two seasons in the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Ironcially, the Sonics are the first NBA franchise to relocate since the Hornets left Charlotte for New Orleans in 2002.

But the Hornets’ short stint provided evidence that Oklahoma City was a competent basketball market with an enthusiastic fan base, prompting Bennett’s exuberance about the move.

Some of that was on display Wednesday for the Thunder, who will be inheriting reigning Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant for the future and a rich past.

The 1979 NBA champions, the Sonics again appeared in the Finals in 1996 behind Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. Their departure could be a huge blow to NBA, which is abandoning Seattle’s lucrative market for the obscurity of the Southwest.

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Updated Wednesday, Sep 3, 2008