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A Brief History
Founded in 1967 as the Seattle SuperSonics, the franchise known today, as the OKC Thunder won six Division titles, three Conference titles and the 1979 NBA Championship with Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson, Jack Sikma and Paul Silas leading the way. In the late 80s and 90s, the Sonics of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp were perennial playoff performers who reached the NBA Finals in 1996 where they ran into the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.
In the early 2000s, unable to secure financing or city approval to build a new arena, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz sold the Sonics to an Oklahoma City-based group led by Clay Bennett.
Kevin Durant and the Rise of the Thunder
Selected 2nd overall in the 2007 NBA draft, Kevin Durant has been the face of the Thunder franchise since the move from Seattle. The lethal scorer is beloved in the community and combines forces with Russell Westbrook to form the best 1-2 combination in the league. With Scott Brooks at the helm of the young and athletic team, the Thunder reached the Western Conference Finals in 2011 and the Finals in 2012 where they lost to the Miami Heat.
Entering the 2012-13 playoffs as a prohibitive favorite to reach the Finals, the thunder lost superstar Westbrook to injury in the first round. Though Durant and company made it past former Thunder star James Harden and his Houston Rockets, they would fall to the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2nd round.
The 2013-14 Season
Last off-season, the Thunder dealt supersub James Harden to the Rockets for a package built around sweet-shooting Kevin Martin. Now Martin's in Minnesota and the Thunder will need to find a third scoring option. Serge Ibaka, already a dominant defender, continues to add to his offense game and Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson will get every opportunity to become stars in this system.
One scary thing for the rest of the league: Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka are all under 25 years old and haven't even entered their primes yet.
Beyond the Thunder-Dome
Long overlooked as a potential NBA hub, Oklahoma City got the chance to host the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans) in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Based on the passionate fan support during the two seasons the Hornets were in town, the NBA was convinced to allow Clay Bennett to move the Seattle Supersonics to OKC in 2008.