The Oklahoma City Thunder may be a young team, but they've got passion and energy on their side. Though the franchise has only been around since 2008, it enjoys one of the most diehard fanbases in the NBA.
The Thunder originally made their way to Oklahoma City amid a storm of controversy. The state of Oklahoma had no professional league sports teams at all, until Hurricane Katrina forced New Orleans' NBA squad to temporarily relocate to OKC. Though the Hornets were only there for part of two seasons ('05 and '06), it was enough to get everyone buzzing about basketball.
In July 2006, a group led by Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett negotiated a deal to buy the Seattle SuperSonics from Starbucks founder Howard Schultz. It was originally agreed that the team would stay in Seattle, but after failing obtain taxpayer funding to renovate the old arena or build a new one in the city, the team's purchasers decided to bring it to their sports-starved hometown. A number of lawsuits and a hefty settlement and fine ensued, but in the end, the franchise was successfully rebranded as the Oklahoma City Thunder and moved into its new location in time to kick off the '08-09 season.
Despite the contentious circumstances, OKC fans greeted their new team with open arms and wild cheers. The Ford Center (now known as the Chesapeake Energy Arena) quickly earned a reputation as one of the NBA's loudest venues. During a 2010 playoff game, noise levels from the stands reached a high of 109 decibels -- that's louder than a motorcycle or even a jackhammer!
Though they'd been an accomplished team as the SuperSonics, the Thunder felt no need to rest on the laurels of their former moniker. In 2014, NBA teams that had won a championship were given the option to add a golden patch to their uniforms, but the Thunder declined to represent the Sonics' 1979 Finals victory. The Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings both adopted the patch thanks to championships they had won prior to relocation, but the Thunder opted to wait and earn their own trophy as Oklahoma City's team.
Considering the incredible post-move success, their confidence was not surprising. With names like Kevin Durant and Russell Westerbrook on the roster, the club quickly gained recognition as a force to be reckoned with. In fact, both players have been NBA top scorers, keeping the title in OKC for five out of six years between '09 and '15. Starting with their second season in Oklahoma City, the Thunder appeared in the playoffs five times in a row.
In just a few short years, Oklahoma City has proven to the world that their team spirit and loyalty know no bounds -- or volume restrictions! And in return, the Thunder have gone above and beyond to make their new city proud. No matter what, the residents of Loud City will never hesitate to raise their voices for their beloved squad.