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Thursday, 17 July 2008

Oklahoma City : where the team has no name

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In Oklahoma City, the wait continues. What will be the name of the team plucked from the grips of the Seattle Sonics fans by Clay Bennett?

From the Canadian Press:

The sports apparel shop where Colby Ousley works was one of the first places to get new NBA T-shirts featuring Oklahoma City on the front.

There's still a big question on the minds of Ousley and others who are eager for the NBA to make its official arrival in the city, though.

"I'm anxious to know what they're finally going to be. The colours, nobody knows anything about that," said Ousley, a 19-year-old who's studying athletic training at the University of Central Oklahoma.

The NBA expects that parts of Oklahoma City's new identity might be announced next month, but the final deadline will be late September - shortly before the start of pre-season games.

The actual names under consideration aren't being revealed, but Bennett has said there are several names being cleared through the league and that the team took in recommendations through letters, naming competitions at schools and a contest run by the local newspaper.

"We've got lots and lots of names, so we feel like we have absorbed much of the flavour of what the citizens have considered and have certainly put that into the equation," Bennett said.

When it comes to Oklahoma City's yet-to-be-named
NBA franchise, a for-sure, can't-miss nickname is difficult to come by. Marketing experts say the easy choices are already taken, long ago gobbled up by the hundreds of professional franchises.

But options remain.

"Now you kind of get down to a name that fits who you are and where you are,” said Vince Orza, dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University.

Good names, Orza said, are terms that are positive, short, easy to spell and easy to pronounce. The best ones also reflect strength and characterize the team's region.

"You kind of want a fun term also,” Orza said. "Four letter names are always the best if you can get them. If you think about it, Ford, Oreo, Coke, the reason those names are so successful is they're easy to say, easy to remember and easy to spell.

"Simple means bigger, and the bigger you can get it on a uniform and cap the easier it is to see the image and the impression of the name.”

Everyone is obsessed
with naming the new team:

Nickname fever is sweeping the state, and no one is immune. With the impending arrival of Oklahoma's first major-league sports franchise — one that's leaving its name, colors and history behind — folks from Guymon to Gotebo are talking about what the team should be called.

Who among us hasn't thought about it, talked about it, debated about it?

This has become fodder for the casual observer every bit as much as the hard-core fan. The debate is just as likely to rage in a Sunday school class as at the local watering hole.

Heck, the obsession extends to The Oklahoman. Our fair newspaper conducted a 64-name bracket competition within hours of the relocation vote, and even though we've told all of you that we have no sway in the naming, you still keep calling and writing with your suggestions.

Meanwhile, OKC's (newly) own Kevin Durant will highlight the USA Select roster as one of 10 young players to give Team USA a run for their money in the lead up to the Olympics.

Durant's co-draftee of 2007, Greg Oden is excited about coming back after missing his first NBA season through injury and thinks that the Blazers might have some new fans:

Having Seattle lose its NBA franchise to Oklahoma City, Oden expects to see "a lot more people in Seattle coming down to Portland."

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