The NBA’s plan to put gold tags on the back jerseys for all franchises with NBA championships seems sort of cool and mostly inconsequential.
But it did lead to one big question: Will the Oklahoma City Thunder honor the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics’ NBA championship?
For the most part, the Thunder have built their own identity in Oklahoma City, a strategy made easier by heavy roster turnover around the time of the 2008 move. But might ignoring the title be seen as a(nother) slight to Seattle?
There’s no perfect way to handle this. Which way will the Thunder go?
Christopher Arena — the NBA’s vice president of outfitting, identity and equipment — told The Oklahoman in a phone interview Monday the Thunder will not honor the Seattle SuperSonics’ 1979 NBA title with the league’s new championship tags.
This is the right move.
The Thunder, after an acrimonious split with Seattle, have distanced themselves from their Sonics legacy. I bet Oklahoma City would even give a new Seattle franchise, if there ever is one, the Sonics’ history and records, a la New Orleans and the Hornets.
If Seattle would have gotten a new team before Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to a championship, would they have removed the gold tag? That would have been ridiculously awkward. Better to just avoid the problem now.
When the team wins a title in Oklahoma City, add the gold tag. Until then, save it for the next Seattle franchise.