On the 10-year anniversary of Clay Bennett announcing OKC officially had a team, here are 10 defining moments from the Thunder’s website.
Royce Young (ESPN) on the Thunder signing maligned big man Nerlens Noel: “Noel dealt with a thumb injury that caused him to miss a lot of time last season, and was suspended five games in early April for violating the league’s anti-drug program.”
Ron Matthews (OKCThunder.com) looks at the 10-year anniversary: “Thanks to superstar players like Russell Westbrook and a fan base that is impossible to miss, the letters OKC are as universally known throughout the world as PHX, MIA, ATL and other metropolitan cities. Thunder jerseys and merchandise are commonly spotted at airports and other high-traffic venues throughout the country.”
A cool little tidbit from some of the Thunder employees behind the scenes on the transition to OKC.
Clay Horning (Norman Transcript) on players finding it difficult to leave OKC: “And yeah, maybe that nucleus can’t compete for an NBA championship next season (or maybe it can). But how about three years from now? The NBA will be a different league at that time, the Thunder will still have their core. It turns out, even if OKC’s not the best place to visit, it’s hard to leave once you’ve arrived.”
Aaron Mansfield (Complex) gives us an in-depth look at the PG party thrown by Russell Westbrook: “Saturday night, as free agency opened, the 2016-17 MVP hosted what he dubbed a summer hype house party featuring George and rap legend Nas. Complex has received exclusive photos and videos from inside the party. Take a peek behind the curtain in the video up top and photos from the event below. At the 1:30 mark of the video, George tells the crowd, “Let me say it again: I’m here to stay. I think what me and this dude right here (Westbrook) can accomplish, we could bring it home.”
Steven Ruiz (ForTheWin) says Westbrook’s pants were the star of the party: “George was not shying away from the spotlight this offseason — he hired ESPN to document his free agency process in a three-part series — but he was forced to share it unexpectedly because Westbrook decided to wear these goofy pants…”
Tim Reynolds (Washington Post) says LA will still be a possibility for Paul George in the future: “So while diving into the magnitude of the numbers in George’s soon-to-be-official deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder — four years at an average of $34 million a season, a contract that sure seems like it will help push the OKC payroll and luxury tax bills for next season alone to perhaps well over $200 million — there was one number that seems to have mattered most. It is 28. His age.”
Berry Tramel (NewsOK) on Sam Presti betting on the culture he’s built: “Presti’s been talking about culture ever since. Sometimes, it got tiresome. The Thunder Way didn’t seem so charming when James Harden got traded or Brian Davis got fired. When Andre Roberson shot foul shots or Kendrick Perkins got switched onto Dwyane Wade. When everyone from players to broadcasters blamed defeat on the referees. When Kevin Durant bolted town.”
Sean Quinton (Seattle Times) with a view from the other side: “They say time heals all wounds. For Sonics fans, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Ten years ago Monday, the Sonics’ 41-year run in Seattle came to abrupt end, leaving NBA fans in town broken-hearted and searching for answers. In a city that has had its share of poor sports fortune, July 2, 2008, is no doubt one of the grimmest days in Seattle sports history. The next day’s headline on The Seattle Times’ front page read, in all caps, “A SAD DAY.”