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The Thunder Logo Debate: Like the "Swoosh," Give It Time And The "OKC" Shield Will Grow On You

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Why does everyone hate the Thunder logo?

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

So Zach Lowe at Grantland and Nike think the Oklahoma City Thunder logo is boring?!? ..... well.... okay..... maybe... but in defense of the Thunder standard, I have to say the example Lowe presented was worse. Rumble the Bison is the Oklahoma City's mascot, but the team is NOT the Oklahoma City Buffaloes. We Are Thunder!

Maybe one has to be from Oklahoma to understand how that word resonates in the souls of her citizens. Thunder isn't an object, thunder is a sound... a powerful sound that feels like home..... a sound that can actually shake your home.

After reading Lowe's article, I found it ironic that he was in love with the Chicago Bulls' logo. No offense to Bulls fans, but  I have seen 1800 pound Angus bulls run for cover like sissies when they hear thunder. Perhaps that is Lowe's point, but in all fairness to the designers of the original Thunder logo, exactly how do you illustrate something so majestic and sometimes terrifying on a t-shirt?

Stampeding buffalo make a sound that emulates thunder, but nothing tops the real thing. Nothing.

Nike's motives are obvious. A new logo will turn into a bonanza of new jersey sales. The old number "35" KD jersey someone has worn for 3 years must be replaced at whatever outrageous price NBA authentic jerseys are retailing for in 2017.

No mystery there, but the OKC shield is recognized around the world and scraping it entirely would be a mistake:

Simple? Sure it is... but when a basketball fan sees that image, you don't have to say "Thunder," they know. When the crowd at "the Peake" wants to rally their team they scream "OKC!... OKC!...OKC!".

It shakes the building and "sounds" like "Thunder" when they do and I will not endorse any logo that does not include that shield.

There are some interesting ideas out there for a new logo. I found this one on Google Images a few years ago and traced it back to the webpage it came from:

Add the OKC shield between the horns and you may be on to something, but drop the shield and it is not the Thunder.

I don't see Sony rushing out to change their logo and for good reason. Besides, if we are going to talk about confusing, let's talk about Nike's broken crochet hook design, the "swoosh." Nike paid Caroline Davidson $35 for the design that represents the wing of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory? Nike co-founder Phil Knight told Davidson in 1971 that "he didn't love it," but he thought it would grow on him. Now the "Swoosh" symbolizes the finest athletic footwear brand on the planet. Simplicity is not the enemy of excellence but honestly, if someone had never told you what the Nike logo represented, would you have known it?

Brian Byrnes, the Thunder's senior vice president of sales and marketing, says the team is open to discussion of modernizing the logo but has no intention of overhauling it. I support that stance. The current logo has become a symbol of excellence. Like Phil Knight felt about the "swoosh" in 1971, I didn't love the shield when it was introduced, but it grew on me.

Thunder is invisible. If you want to "see" thunder, I can show you some thunder....


Could some bright and talented graphics designer come up with something that represents that clip? A bolt of lightning and the OKC Shield destroying a basketball rim perhaps?

The Sony logo is simple and unique. When you see it you think electronics. Nike's "swoosh?" Again, simple, unique and immediately makes you think of athletic footwear. I wonder how far the last junior executive flew when security tossed him/her out the door for even mentioning changing one of those logos.

The OKC shield is also simple and unique and represents the Oklahoma City Thunder. Embellish it if you must, but don't dump it. Ditching the shield would be like... changing the name of the local baseball team.... oh wait.... someone already did that.... twice.... hmmm.