Oklahoma City Thunder Guide: Franchise History, Leaders, Retired Numbers, Social Media and More


Previous Franchise Names: Seattle SuperSonics

Principal Owner: Clayton Bennett
General Manager: Sam Presti
Head Coach: Billy Donovan

Best Season: 1995-96 (64-18, .780)
Playoff Appearances: 27
NBA Championships: 1 (1978-79)


SEATTLE – DECEMBER 26: Gary Payton #20 of the Seattle Sonics drives to the basket during the NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Key Arena on December 26, 2002 in Seattle, Washington. The Sonics won 97-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Oklahoma City Thunder have played in their present iteration since 2008, when the Seattle SuperSonics were moved to the Great Plains after 41 seasons in the Pacific Northwest.

The franchise won its only NBA title in 1979, beating the Washington Bullets in five games one year after losing a seven-game series to Washington in the NBA Finals.

Since then, the team has been back to the Finals twice, with the Sonics losing to the Chicago Bulls in 1996 and the Thunder falling to the Miami Heat in 2012.

The original SuperSonics joined the NBA as an expansion team along with the San Diego Rockets in 1967 and didn’t reach the postseason until their eighth season in 1974-75.

In 49 season, the franchise has 27 postseason appearances in total, topped by a run of eight consecutive years from 1991-98.

In Seattle, stars such as Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Jack Sikma, Gus Williams and Dennis Johnson graced the green and gold; since going to Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have emerged as the faces of the franchise.

Lenny Wilkens served two stints as Sonics coach and his overall mark of 478-402 (37-32 in the playoffs) ranks him first in franchise history. He served as player-coach from 1969-72 and took over 22 games into the 1977-78 season (when the team was 5-17) and went 42-18 the rest of the way. He remained in Seattle until being fired after the 1984-85 campaign.

Oklahoma City Thunder Career Leaders (as of 3/9/2016)

  • Games, Gary Payton, 999
  • Points, Gary Payton, 18207
  • Rebounds, Jack Sikma, 7729
  • Assists, Gary Payton, 7384
  • Steals, Gary Payton, 2107
  • Blocks, Serge Ibaka, 1281
(27) victorious with teammates and champagne in locker room after winning Game 5 and championship series vs Washington Bullets at Capital Centre.
Landover, MD 6/1/1979
CREDIT: Walter Iooss Jr. (Photo by Walter Iooss Jr. /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
(Set Number: X23441 TK2 R2 F1 )

Oklahoma City Thunder Retired Numbers

Oklahoma City Thunder Official Links

Official Team Site: nba.com/thunder
Official Twitter Handle: @okcthunder
Official Facebook Page: Oklahoma City Thunder
Official Instagram Page: Oklahoma City Thunder
Official Arena Page: Chesapeake Arena

Oklahoma City Thunder Beat Writers

Darnell Mayberry, The Oklahoman, @darnellmayberr
Anthony Slater, The Oklahoman, @anthonyvslater
Royce Young, ESPN.com, @royceyoung

Related Oklahoma City Thunder Blogs and Links

Oklahoma City Thunder Logo History, courtesy of Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net
Salary Page: Oklahoma City Thunder Salaries at Spotrac
FanSided Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunderous Intentions
SB Nation Oklahoma City Thunder: Welcome to Loud City
ESPN TrueHoop Oklahoma City Thunder: Daily Thunder
HoopsHabit Oklahoma City Thunder Archive: Oklahoma City Thunder
Bleacher Report Oklahoma City Thunder Team Stream: Oklahoma City Thunder
RealGM Oklahoma City Thunder Page: Oklahoma City Thunder

Stats and retired number information courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com