The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the best NBA franchises and they proved as much last year when they made it to the NBA Finals. The team had four players participate in the Olympics, with Serge Ibaka playing with Spain while Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden were on Team USA.
In ESPN The Magazine's annual Ultimate Rankings, the Thunder earned the honor of being the No. 1 overall franchise.
Last year, the Thunder were already in good standing, as they ranked No. 6. The Thunder are tops on the list due to fan relations, reasonable ticket prices and, of course, winning helps as well. Here is an excerpt from ESPN The Magazine:
Like other teams that always rank near the top of our Ultimate Standings -- the Spurs and Packers, Angels and Red Wings -- the Oklahoma City Thunder deliver lots of wins, amped by hugely enjoyable game days, at reasonable prices.
In our fan voting, Oklahoma City not only was No. 1 in the NBA in having a fan-friendly environment but ranked first among all teams in engaging fans through social media and in connecting fans to information online or via mobile devices.
So yes, the Thunder's owners were wrong to abandon Seattle the way they did four years ago. But in the here and now, through geographical necessity, smart management and hellaciously fun play, Oklahoma City is doing a better job than any other sports franchise of turning fans into family.
For more on the Thunder, visit Welcome To Loud City.