Despite the 2008 postcode change, the Seattle SuperSonic/Oklahoma City Thunder franchise remains one of the most respected professional basketball programs in the world.
Sonic has been home to many amazing talents for many years, from Lenny Wilkens in the seventies to Gus Williams in the eighties. Then, in the ’90s, there was an electrified tandem of Gary Payton and Sean Kemp.
Since they changed their name to Thunder, this generation of superstars such as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have managed to keep their franchise despite the changes.
The Sonics-franchise, Thunder has one NBA title (1979) and three Western Conference championships and several play-offs.
But like any other team, the franchise has experienced many disappointing moments during its long stay in the league. These are the four most heartbreaking moments in the history of Seattle/OCC.
Acoustic identity loss
It’s a real mockery that one of the most loyal basketball fans in the world doesn’t have an NBA team anymore.
Despite strong pressure from the Seattle Basketball Club LLP to keep Sonic in Seattle, they could not prevent the Oklahoma City investment group led by businessman Clay Bennett from opening a store elsewhere in 2008.
The Sonyx franchise seems to be coming soon, thanks in part to the beautiful game of their second overall pick by Kevin Durant a year earlier. The team has just lost the stars Ray Allen, Rashar Lewis and Durant, who should be the next big star in Seattle.
Their inability to obtain funding to rebuild the Ki-Arena eventually led to the fall of the city of Seattle. By a 28-2 vote of the NBA owners, the final move of the team to Oklahoma City was approved.
This gesture brought history and sonic honour to Oklahoma City. However, the new fan base finds the mantra of the Sonics difficult to accept because they have no emotional connection with the previous team.
To date, Seattle continues to look for an opportunity to return to the league by taking over an existing NBA team. You already have three failed bids with the Kings of Sacramento, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks.
Explosion 3-1 to warriors in 2016 WCF
Mainly thanks to their design success the thunder wasn’t gone for long. They have reached the Western Conference finals four times in the six seasons from 2010 to 2016.
Junior team Thunder was ready to return to the NBA finals after winning a 3:1 lead over the Golden Warriors of the defending states at the WCF 2016. After angering the Warriors in the first race, Thunder kept on winning 3 and 4.
Both Westbrook and Durant averaged more than 25 points in the playoffs and the OCC survived the Oaks’ offensive capabilities. Luck was clearly not on her side though, as she also lost the next three games and series. In the decisive seventh. They even took the lead with 13 points and only lost in the final – 96-88.
Besides his injury, Durant Thunder decided to leave before the summer to join his executioners in Auckland.
Short circuit in the final (two times)
After a disappointing play-off run in the early 1990s, Sonic returned to the finals in 1996 led by Gary Peyton and Sean Kemp.
However, his mentor George Carl’s team faces a final hurdle with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The team fought against one of the best teams in the history of the NBA, but still felt they were outnumbered in six games.
They returned to the promised land 16 years later when the trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden beat the strongest teams in the West to reach the NBA finals in 2012.
They were confronted with the best and most experienced of the Miami Heat’s Big 3, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosch. At home, Thunder could do number one. He won the first match, but lost the next four.
Before they were called NBA MVP’s, it was quite surreal that Durant, Westbrook and Harden played for the same NBA team at one point.
Harden is designed for big things outside the OCC and wouldn’t have become the superstar he is now if he had stayed in 2012. The decision of the Durant Free Agency surprised the fans in the summer of 2016, but the franchise continued to grow rapidly.
However, it was Russell Westbrook’s shocking departure from the team last year that sent shock waves throughout the city.
Russ was indeed the heart and soul of Thunder, as he still runs the company in various statistical categories. Since Durant’s departure, his statistical performance has been astonishing, averaging three times higher in three seasons (2016-2019).
Despite the astonishing performance, Westbrook’s inability to remove the CCO from the first round of the play-offs during this period may have influenced the decision to reach a settlement.
Sales have worked miracles for both parties, as the current OKC crop has accumulated 40-24 oil shales before the season was suspended. In the meantime Westbrook has found Harden and it fits well with the Houston Rockets.
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