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Naming the Oklahoma City Baketball Team  by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Naming the Oklahoma City Baketball Team

            When the Seattle Super Sonics move to Oklahoma City, they will leave their name behind. They will also leave the team colors and the stats for another potential NBA franchise. This leaves it up the owners in OKC to adopt a new name, new colors and a new marketing campaign.

            Of course we’re going to help. I’m sure Clay Bennett and the boys want our input. That’s the reason I’m surveying friends and fans for possible new names.  Whenever we come up with a consensus, we expect Oklahoma City to use it.  After all, we know a bunch of good team namers.

That’s our expertise. Even Mike’s grandson came up with “Flying Monkeys of Doom” for his soccer team. You can’t beat that.

            Our survey has netted a number of names based on things relevant to Oklahoma City’s history, weather, state animals, trees, music and national perception. The first thing we did was discard any names based on national perception. After all, what kind of a mascot is a Meth Head - a guy with sunken eyes wearing a lab jacket? We’re not even sure the NBA will allow such a name. The Rednecks?  I don’t see that working. Using a shirtless Larry the Cable type Guy as a mascot?  The Pregnant Teenagers won’t work either. Even though it’s a big statistic, it’s also too close to a big NBA statistic. OKC might have a hard time convincing players to come in.  The F***in’ Hillbillies was suggested. Really, I shouldn’t have asked Bill Callahan. 

            Many names came in based on the oil and gas industry. One of the major owners of the team has a large natural gas production company. The Gassers?  Sounds scary, yeah, what would the mascot look like? Roughnecks? These are guys who work on oil rigs. Drillers? Same idea, same mascot. Pumpers? After you hit a well, you have to pump the oil out. The guys who manage the pumping units are called pumpers.  Wildcatters?  Maybe the best of the oil-themed names, but what about the cheerleaders? Can you see Wildkitties? Wildcatettes? Don’t think so.

            The weather lends itself to a lot of names. The Tornadoes, the Hook Clouds, the Wall Clouds, Thunder, Lightning,  Supercells, Rolling Thunder. All those names lend themselves to music, campaigns, cheer leading squads. But they are hard to nickname. Almost all NBA teams have a shortened nickname. It’s part of the culture.

            Animals are always a good source for team names. One guy suggests Ligers, as a cross between lions and tigers. Other ideas are Rattlers, Cougars, Gamecocks (and we know how that one be shortened), Giraffes. We actually like that one, especially if you can collect a team of tall players or if they are not tall, at least have long necks. And then, for the cheerleaders, hire all the actresses who played DAs on Law & Order.

Naming the Oklahoma City Baketball Team  by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles

            My good friend, Hal Fast, the old race car driver loves the idea of the Thundercats.  He says it, in one name, symbolizes speed and ferocity. Plus it plays off the weather angle, he says. We see mascot possibilities, a cat strutting around with a thunderbolt on his chest. He’d be Boomer the Thundercat and the cheer squad would be the Thunderettes. And whenever the team is making a charge, a loud clap of thunder comes over the sound system followed by a scary cat’s roar. Plus, and this is critical for the NBA, it can be shortened to the Cats. Yeah, we’ll pass that on Clay. The Thundercats. It works so much better than the Pregnant Teenagers.  Although that name cans easily be shortened to the Pregs.

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