NBA teams were given an opportunity to acknowledge previous championship teams in the form of gold marking on the back collar of the team’s jersey. Oklahoma City Thunder have decided not to recognize the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics championship team. It has yet to be confirmed or denied by the team, but sources say that OKC’s jersey will not have the marking because the Thunder themselves have not won the championship they so desperately covet yet.
It makes sense to me that they would not put the marking, because this current Thunder team seems to be a different entity than any SuperSonic team of the 21st century. They deliberately left Seattle to make a new mark in Oklahoma and have done so and competed every single season for the past five years.
They have become a different and better brand with perhaps the most passionate fans in the NBA. These are Thunder fans, not SuperSonic fans. The current fans in OKC cared none about the team from Washington state and embraced the team during the move as if they had been a part of the city for hundreds of years. Watching the fans cheer for that team is truly something special.
This can also serve as a motivational tool for players like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook who, when they visit places like Los Angeles and Boston, will see the markings on the jersey and feel the desire more-so than ever. They’ll develop a new level of need to clutch the Larry O’Brien trophy in their arms. They’ll want their team to have markings and they’ll want to be the ones to bring the team those markings.
Not putting the mark for the 1979 Sonics team is brilliant, because it serves as another motivation tool for OKC — as if losing to Miami in 2012 wasn’t enough.