Photo by Torreypurvey.com
By Michel Kinney
The first couple of months for Oklahoma City haven’t been very pretty. From their under .500 record to their second-half breakdowns, the Thunder have looked downright ugly.
Even as the Thunder beat an undermanned San Antonio Spurs squad 90-87 Sunday, the win felt more like a loss.
However, even as they go through this tough patch, the Thunder have found a way to stand out style wise.
Sunday was the third time this season that they have worn their new alternate jerseys. But it was the first time they have picked up a victory in Oklahoma themed uniforms.
In their short time on the market, the “Statement” jerseys have been a hit for the Thunder.
“Just after the first day, it’s been a huge success,” Thunder Vice-President Brian Byrnes said. “A lot of that’s measured on retail sales, but it’s also measured on just … we look at fan sentiment, fan feedback. We watch what they’re saying on social, we get feedback from fans. We were watching at the game tonight. People are walking around wearing it. You can get quick feedback in this line of business as to whether people like what you’re doing or not, and I think what we’re finding out is that fans really like this.”
The lead design element of the uniform is the “OKC” on the chest. It is placed in the Thunder sunset against the uniform’s primarily navy background. On the back, Thunder blue and navy alternate in tone-on-tone stripes.
According to Byrnes, the concept of the uniform is inspired by Thunder fans’ reputation as Loud City, illustrating the roar of the Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd as it engages in its signature “O-K-C!” chant.
Player names and numbers are also set in Thunder sunset, and the team name is represented in a sunset at the belt buckle.
“The idea came out of LeBron (James) wearing the dark uniform in the Finals two years ago,” Byrnes said. “They were down 3-1 to Golden State, and he put on the dark uniform, and he said publicly, “I’m trying to make a statement.” Nike picked up on that, and that’s what they branded this alternate uniform as a statement. When they went to every team in the design process about a year and a half ago, they said, “Tell us your story. Tell us something about your fan base. Tell us something about your city. How do you make a statement?” Well, when we answered that question, we said, “Our statement is that the game experience for the Thunder is second to none. It’s loud. ‘Loud City’ is the name of the environment. Our fans are very passionate. They’re very… They’re into it. And it’s this force of nature.”
According to Byrnes, the look and feel of the uniforms are the perfect complement to not just the Thunder, but Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma itself.
“Nike picked up on that, and they came back with this design that had the offset lettering to show a lot of movement and a lot of power and a lot of passion,” Byrnes said. “They came with the audio waves, which are the blue lines throughout the sides and the back, to demonstrate audio and loud nature of “Loud City” and the Thunder environment.”
Every time the Thunder come out with alternate uniforms, they go over well with the fans. But this version has built a fan following in less than two weeks.
“The fan reaction has been overwhelming. If you remember, Paul George was a part of a Nike event back in September in Los Angeles,” Byrnes said. “He debuted the uniform. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, both locally and nationally, to the design scheme. There’s been a lot of interest from fans all throughout the start of the season as to when we were going to wear them.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com