Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws; the team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play is mandated. Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running or by passing it to a teammate, both of which require considerable skill. On offense, players may use a variety of shots -- a dunk, it is a violation to lift or drag one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands resume dribbling.
The five players on each side at a time fall into five playing positions: the tallest player is the center, the tallest and strongest is the power forward, a shorter but more agile big man is the small forward, the shortest players or the best ball handlers are the shooting guard and the point guard, who implements the coach's game plan by managing the execution of offensive and defensive plays. Informally, players may play three-on-three, two-on-two, one-on-one. Invented in 1891 by Canadian-American gym teacher James Naismith in Springfield, United States, basketball has evolved to become one of the world's most popular and viewed sports; the National Basketball Association is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries and level of competition. Outside North America, the top clubs from national leagues qualify to continental championships such as the Euroleague and FIBA Americas League; the FIBA Basketball World Cup and Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament are the major international events of the sport and attract top national teams from around the world.
Each continent hosts regional competitions for national teams, like FIBA AmeriCup. The FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament feature top national teams from continental championships; the main North American league is the WNBA, whereas strongest European clubs participate in the EuroLeague Women. In early December 1891, Canadian James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School in Springfield, was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day, he sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters. After rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums, he wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot elevated track. In contrast with modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom, balls had to be retrieved manually after each "basket" or point scored.
Basketball was played with a soccer ball. These round balls from "association football" were made, at the time, with a set of laces to close off the hole needed for inserting the inflatable bladder after the other sewn-together segments of the ball's cover had been flipped outside-in; these laces could dribbling to be unpredictable. A lace-free ball construction method was invented, this change to the game was endorsed by Naismith; the first balls made for basketball were brown, it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball, now in common use. Dribbling was not part of the original game except for the "bounce pass" to teammates. Passing the ball was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was introduced but limited by the asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling was common by 1896, with a rule against the double dribble by 1898; the peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were replaced by metal hoops with backboards.
A further change was soon made, so the ball passed through. Whenever a person got the ball in the basket, his team would gain a point. Whichever team got; the baskets were nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved impractical when spectators in the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced to prevent this interference. Naismith's handwritten diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in early 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game he had invented, which incorporated rules from a children's game called duck on a rock, as many had failed before it. Frank Mahan, one of the players from the original
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the athletic teams that represent the University of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish participate in 23 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I intercollegiate sports and in the NCAA's Division I in all sports, with many teams competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Notre Dame is one of only 16 universities in the United States that plays Division I FBS football and Division I men's ice hockey; the school colors are Gold and Blue and the mascot is the Leprechaun. Just where the moniker "Fighting Irish" came from is a matter of much debate and legend. One possibility is that the nickname is inherited from Irish immigrant soldiers who fought in the Civil War with the Union's Irish Brigade. Notre Dame's claim to the nickname would seem to come from the presence of Fr. William Corby, CSC, the third president of Notre Dame, at the Battle of Gettysburg. Fr. Corby served as chaplain of the Irish Brigade and granted general absolution to the troops in the midst of the battle.
This is commemorated in the painting "Absolution Under Fire," part of Notre Dame's permanent art collection. A print of the painting "The Original Fighting Irish" by former Fighting Irish lacrosse player Revere La Noue is on permanent display at Notre Dame's Arlotta Stadium; the print hangs in the office of head Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly, who said that he had to have the work which captures the "swagger" and "toughness" of the football program after seeing it online. The athletes and teams at Notre Dame, now known as the Fighting Irish, were known by many different unofficial nicknames throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During the Knute Rockne football era, Notre Dame had several unofficial nicknames, among them the "Rovers" and the "Ramblers"; these names reflected the teams' propensity to travel the nation to play its football contests, long before such national travel became the collegiate norm. Notre Dame was known unofficially as the "Terriers," after the Irish breed of the dog, for some years, an Irish Terrier would be found on the ND football sidelines.
One theory traces back to the visit from Irish freedom fighter and President of the Republic of Ireland, Éamon de Valera, part of the 1916 Easter Rising and was imprisoned and sentenced to death. He was elected to Parliament and arrested by the English again, he slipped off to America to avoid recapture. Barnstorming the country, the future president of Ireland was welcomed as a hero at Notre Dame on October 15, 1919. Accounts in Scholastic, a student publication, indicate that his visit tilted campus opinion in favor of the "Fighting Irish" moniker — though not completely. De Valera planted a "tree of liberty" as a memorial of his visit — only to have it uprooted a week and thrown in one of the campus lakes by a student "of Unionist persuasion."There are several other legends of how Notre Dame came to be the "Fighting Irish." One story suggests the moniker was born in 1899 during a game between Notre Northwestern. The Fighting Irish were leading 5–0 at halftime when the Wildcat fans began to chant, "Kill the Fighting Irish, kill the Fighting Irish," as the second half opened.
Another tale has the nickname originating at halftime of the Notre Dame-Michigan game in 1909. With his team trailing, one Notre Dame player yelled to his teammates —who had names like Dolan, Donnelly, Glynn and Ryan— "What's the matter with you guys? You're all Irish and you're not fighting worth a lick." Notre Dame came back to win the game, the press, after overhearing the remark, reported the game as a victory for the "Fighting Irish." Notre Dame was a member of the "old" Big East Conference until 2013. It is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports except for the following: Football, in which the university maintains its status as an independent university, it is a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision, for postseason purposes Notre Dame is the only independent with the privileges granted to teams in the Power Five conferences. Men's hockey competes in the Big Ten, their former hockey conference, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, disbanded after the 2012–13 season due to a major realignment of hockey conferences.
The Irish spent three seasons as a member of Hockey East before joining the Big Ten. According to men's basketball Coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame considered joining the Big Ten Conference in 2003, with the decision not to proceed occurring at the "11th hour." Head Coach: Brian Kelly Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium National Championships: 11 Consensus. There are other years where various polls claim Notre Dame as a National Champion, but those years are not consensus titles, thus are not claimed by the university; the school has a comprehensive and nationally competitive Division I athletic program, but it is most famous for its football program. Notre Dame fielded its first football team in 1887. With eleven football championships acknowledged by the NCAA, over 800 all-time wins, seven Heisman Trophy winners, famous head coaches, a 73.6% winning percentage and the most consensus All-Americans of any school, Notre Dame football is one of the most storied programs both on the gridiron and college athletics in general.
Notre Dame has struggled, going through several head coaches and setting the all-time bowl losing streak of nine straight with the loss to LSU in the 2007 Sugar Bowl before beating Hawaii in the 2008 Hawaii Bowl. Notre Dame is the only football program in the nation, including both collegiate and professional ones, with every home game being on national broadcast television. In addit
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, more referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference; the team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city; the team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America, which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts.
Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter. It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973; the Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success. The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making two appearances in the NBA Finals, in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era. Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former glory, but won its first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Indiana Pacers, have failed to make the playoffs since. In 1946, basketball college basketball, was a growing and profitable sport in New York City.
Hockey generated considerable profits. Max Kase, a New York sportswriter, became the sports editor at the Boston American in the 1930s, when he met Boston Garden owner Walter A. Brown. Kase developed the idea of an organized professional league to showcase college players upon their graduation and felt it could become profitable if properly assembled. Brown, intrigued by the opportunity to attain additional income when the hockey teams were not playing or on the road, contacted several arena owners. On June 6, 1946, Kase and Brown and a group of seventeen others assembled at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, as the Basketball Association of America, where charter franchises were granted to major cities throughout the country. Ned Irish, a college basketball promoter, retired sportswriter and president of Madison Square Garden, was in attendance. Kase planned to own and operate the New York franchise himself and approached Irish with a proposal to lease the Garden. Irish explained that the rules of the Arena Managers Association of America stated that Madison Square Garden was required to own any professional teams that played in the arena.
On the day of the meeting, Kase made his proposal to the panel of owners. Irish wanted a distinct name for his franchise, representative of the city of New York, he called together members of his staff for a meeting to cast their votes in a hat. After tallying the votes, the franchise was named the Knickerbockers; the "Knickerbocker" name comes from the pseudonym used by Washington Irving in his book A History of New York, a name that became applied to the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of what became New York, by extension, to New Yorkers in general. In search of a head coach, Irish approached successful St. John's University coach Joe Lapchick in May 1946. Lapchick accepted after Irish promised to make him the highest paid coach in the league. Irish obliged, hiring former Manhattan College coach Neil Cohalan as interim coach for the first year. With no college draft in the league's initial year, there was no guarantee that the Knicks or the league itself would thrive. Teams focused on signing college players from their respective cities as a way to promote the professional league.
The Knicks held their first training camp in the Catskill Mountains at the Nevele Country Club. Twenty-five players were invited to attend the three-week session. Players worked out twice a day and the chemistry between the New York natives was instant. With a roster assembled, the Knicks faced the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1, 1946, in what would be the franchise's first game—as well as the first in league history. In a low-scoring affair presented in front of 7,090 spectators, the Knicks defeated the Huskies 68–66 with Leo Gottlieb leading the Knicks in scoring with 14 points. With Madison Square Garden's crowded schedule, the Knicks were forced to play many of their home games at the 69th Regiment Armory during the team's early years; the Knicks went on to finish their inaugural campaign with a 33–27 record and achieved a playoff berth under Cohalan despite a dismal shooting percentage of 28 perce
Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball
The Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball team represents the University of Oklahoma in men's NCAA Division I basketball. The Sooners play in the Big 12 Conference; the Sooners enjoyed moderate success on the court during this era, posting just 16 losing records in their first 72 seasons. They were led by 9 different coaches during this period, beginning with Bennie Owen and ending with Dave Bliss in 1980; the Sooners participated in the first Final Four in 1939. OU made a second appearance in the championship game in 1947; the program gained national prominence under Billy Tubbs when he took over in 1981. Star players Wayman Tisdale, Mookie Blaylock, Stacey King guided the Sooners to several deep runs in the NCAA Tournament. In 1988, the Sooners reached the NCAA title game in Kansas City, where they fell four points shy of their first national title to the 11-loss Kansas Jayhawks, a team which they had beaten twice in regular season play. Tubbs resigned on April 10, 1994, indicating that "he did not feel appreciated enough working at a football school".
Tubbs' base salary at Oklahoma in his final season was $107,000 annually. Tubbs, 59 years old at the time, left to take over the struggling Texas Christian University basketball program, signing a 5-year contract worth between $200,000 and $400,000 per season. Tubbs' record at OU was 333-132 overall, 126-70 conference, with 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, one Final Four appearance, one National Title Game appearance. Tubbs finished with 5 Big 8 regular season titles and 2 Conference Tournament titles. Tubbs averaged 9 conference wins per season. Kelvin Sampson became the 11th head coach at the University of Oklahoma on April 25, 1994. Sampson was named national coach of the year in 1995 by the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association and Basketball Weekly after guiding the Sooners to 23–9 overall and 15–0 home marks, it was the second-best overall record posted by a first-year coach in Big 8 history. Sampson possesses the highest winning percentage in Oklahoma history, he guided OU to nine consecutive 20-win seasons.
He averaged 24.4 wins over those nine campaigns. He directed the Sooners to postseason tournament berths in each of his 12 seasons, with a Sweet 16 showing in 1999, a Final Four appearance in 2002 and an Elite Eight appearance in 2003, his teams played in the Big 12 Tournament title game on five occasions during the 10 seasons he coached in the Big 12. In 2001, 2002, 2003 the Sooners won that tournament. Sampson finished with a Big 12 Tournament record of 17-7. Standouts Eduardo Nájera and Hollis Price helped the Sooners maintain a streak of 25 straight post season appearances, the longest in the nation. Sampson left OU in 2006 to take a head job at Indiana. Sampson's record at OU was 279-109 overall, 128-60 conference, with 11 NCAA Tournament Appearances, including one Final Four appearance. In the Big 12, Sampson had 1 Conference Regular Season Title. During his final season at OU, Sampson's salary was $900,000 annually, not including bonuses. Sampson left OU in 2006 to become the head basketball coach at Indiana University, signing a 7-year, $10,500,000 contract, at $1,500,000 per season.
Under Sampson's watch, Oklahoma was placed under a three-year investigation by the NCAA for recruiting violations. At the end of their investigation, the NCAA issued a report citing more than 550 illegal calls made by Sampson and his staff to 17 different recruits; the NCAA barred Sampson from recruiting off campus and making phone calls for one year, ending May 24, 2007. Sampson averaged 11 conference wins per season. On April 11, 2006, Jeff Capel was named the 12th head basketball coach at Oklahoma, succeeding Kelvin Sampson. Though the Sooner Nation as a whole greeted Capel's hiring with optimism, one notable downside of the coaching change emerged—Sampson's departure caused three of the players who had signed with OU to rethink each's decision to attend OU. Scottie Reynolds went on to Villanova, Damion James to Texas. Capel was signed to a four-year, $3,000,000 contract, at $750,000 annually. In his first year, after going 8–4 in non-conference games, with losses to Memphis, Purdue and Alabama, the Sooners started 6–3 in conference play, before losing their final 7 conference games.
After winning only one game in the Big 12 Conference Tournament, losing to eventual conference tournament champion Kansas, the Sooners missed any form of postseason play, which snapped the nation's longest streak of 25 consecutive years in the postseason, starting with Billy Tubbs' second year in 1982 and ending with Kelvin Sampson's final year in 2006. In his second year, after signing McDonald's All-American Forward Blake Griffin, the Sooners finished 21–10 during the regular season earning them a No. 4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, where they won one game before losing to Texas in the semi-finals. They received a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they defeated St. Joseph's in the first round before losing to No. 3 seed Louisville in the second round, finishing the season at 23–12, an improvement of 7 wins over the previous season. After this successful second season, Capel's name began to surface among many head coaching vacancies. In an effort to keep Capel, OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione and the OU Board of Regents extended Capel's contract through 2014, increased his salary to $1,050,000 per year.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team based in Oakland, California. The Warriors compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division. Founded in 1946 in Philadelphia, the Warriors relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1962 and took the city's name, before changing its geographic moniker to Golden State in 1971, they play their home games at the Oracle Arena. The Warriors won the inaugural Basketball Association of America championship in 1947, won its second championship in 1956, led by Hall of Fame trio Paul Arizin, Tom Gola, Neil Johnston. However, the Warriors would not return to similar heights in Philadelphia, after a brief rebuilding period following the trade of star Wilt Chamberlain, the team moved to San Francisco. With star players Jamaal Wilkes and Rick Barry, the Warriors returned to title contention, won their third championship in 1975, in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in NBA history.
This would precede another period of struggle in the 1980s, before becoming playoff regulars at the turn of the decade with stars Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin, colloquially referred to as "Run TMC". After failing to capture a championship, the team entered another rebuilding phase in the 2000s; the Warriors' fortunes changed in the 2010s. After drafting perennial All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the team returned to championship glory in 2015, before winning another two in 2017 and 2018 with the help of former league MVP Kevin Durant. Nicknamed the Dubs as a shortening of "W's", the Warriors hold several NBA records. With the combined shooting of Curry and Thompson, they are credited as one of the greatest backcourts of all time; the team's six NBA championships are tied for third-most in NBA history with the Chicago Bulls. According to Forbes, the Warriors are the seventh highest valued sports franchise in the United States, joint-tenth in the world, with an estimated value of $3.1 billion.
The Warriors were founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors, a charter member of the Basketball Association of America. They were owned by Peter A. Tyrrell, who owned the Philadelphia Rockets of the American Hockey League. Tyrrell hired Eddie Gottlieb, a longtime basketball promoter in the Philadelphia area, as coach and general manager; the owners named the team after the Philadelphia Warriors, an old basketball team who played in the American Basketball League in 1925. Led by early scoring sensation Joe Fulks, the team won the championship in the league's inaugural 1946–47 season by defeating the Chicago Stags, four games to one; the NBA, created by a 1949 merger recognizes that as its own first championship. Gottlieb bought the team in 1951; the Warriors won its next championship in Philadelphia in the 1955–56 season, defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons four games to one. The Warrior stars of this era were future Hall of Tom Gola and Neil Johnston. In 1959, the team signed draft pick Wilt Chamberlain.
Known as "Wilt the Stilt", he led the team in scoring six times began shattering NBA scoring records and changed the NBA style of play forever. On March 2, 1962, in a Warrior "home" game played on a neutral court in Hershey, Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks, a single-game record the NBA ranks among its finest moments. In 1962, Franklin Mieuli purchased the majority shares of the team and relocated the franchise to the San Francisco Bay Area, renaming them the San Francisco Warriors; the Warriors played most of their home games at the Cow Palace in Daly City from 1962 to 1964 and the San Francisco Civic Auditorium from 1964 to 1966, though playing home games in nearby cities such as Oakland and San Jose. Prior to the 1963–64 NBA season, the Warriors drafted big man Nate Thurmond to go along with Chamberlain; the Warriors won the Western Division crown that season, but lost the 1964 NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics, four games to one. In the 1964–65 season, the Warriors traded Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers for Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, Paul Neumann and $150,000 and won only 17 games.
In 1965, they drafted Rick Barry in the first round who went on to become NBA Rookie of the Year that season and led the Warriors to the NBA Finals in the 1966–67 season, losing to Chamberlain's new team that had replaced the Warriors in Philadelphia, the 76ers. Angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive bonuses he felt were due him, Barry sat out the 1967–68 season and signed with the Oakland Oaks of the rival American Basketball Association for the following year, but after four seasons in the ABA rejoined the Warriors in 1972. During Barry's absence, the Warriors were no longer title contenders, the mantle of leadership fell to Thurmond, Jeff Mullins and Rudy LaRusso, they began scheduling more home games in Oakland with the opening of the Oakland Coliseum Arena in 1966 and the 1970–71 season would be the team's last as the San Francisco Warriors. The franchise adopted its brand name Golden State Warriors prior to the 1971–72 season, in order to suggest that the team represented the entire state of California.
All home games were played in Oakland that season. Oakland Arena became the team's exclusive home court in 1971; the Warriors made the playoffs from 1971 to 1977 except in 1974, won their first NBA championship on t
1981–82 NBA season
The 1981–82 NBA season was the 36th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Championship, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals; the regular-season ran. The 1982 NBA All-Star Game was played at the new Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with the East defeating the West 120–118. Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics wins the game's MVP award; this season marked the New Jersey Nets first season in the new arena. On March 6, 1982, San Antonio beat Milwaukee 171-166 in three overtime periods to set the record for most points by two teams in a game; the record was broken two seasons later. Magic Johnson secures his second NBA Finals MVP award several months before his 23rd birthday; the Los Angeles Lakers begin a string of nine consecutive seasons as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Denver Nuggets scored at least 100 points in every single game of the season, while allowing 100 points in every game.
It remains the only time. After a few years of success in NCAA basketball, the breakaway rim became standardized equipment in the NBA; this season marked Isiah Thomas' rookie season. The three-to-make-two free throw rule, along with the two-to-make one rule, were both eliminated; this season marked Bob Dandridge' final season. Notes z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs and first round bye c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs and first round bye y – Clinched division title and first round bye x – Clinched playoff spot Teams in bold advanced to the next round; the numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record. Most Valuable Player: Moses Malone, Houston Rockets Rookie of the Year: Buck Williams, New Jersey Nets Coach of the Year: Gene Shue, Washington Bullets All-NBA First Team: Larry Bird, Boston Celtics George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers Moses Malone, Houston Rockets Gus Williams, Seattle SuperSonics All-NBA Second Team: Alex English, Denver Nuggets Bernard King, Golden State Warriors Robert Parish, Boston Celtics Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers Sidney Moncrief, Milwaukee Bucks All-NBA Rookie Team: Buck Williams, New Jersey Nets Jay Vincent, Dallas Mavericks Kelly Tripucka, Detroit Pistons Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons Jeff Ruland, Washington BulletsNote: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder is an American professional basketball team based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Thunder competes in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division; the team plays its home games at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder's NBA G League affiliate is the Oklahoma City Blue; the Thunder are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma City hosted the New Orleans Hornets for two seasons following devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans; the team was established as the Seattle SuperSonics, an expansion team that joined the NBA for the 1967–68 season. The SuperSonics moved in 2008 after a settlement was reached between the ownership group led by Clay Bennett and lawmakers in Seattle, Washington following a lawsuit. In Seattle, the SuperSonics qualified for the NBA playoffs 22 times, won their division six times, won the 1979 NBA Championship.
In Oklahoma City, the Thunder qualified for their first playoff berth during the 2009–10 season. They won their first division title as the Thunder in the 2010–11 season and their first Western Conference championship as the Thunder in the 2011–12 season, appearing in the NBA Finals for the fourth time in franchise history and first since 1996, when the team was based in Seattle; the Thunder's previous incarnation, the Seattle SuperSonics, were formed in 1967. In their 41 seasons in Seattle, the SuperSonics compiled a 1745–1585 win–loss record in the regular season and went 107–110 in the playoffs; the franchise's titles include three Western Conference championships and one NBA title in 1979. In 2006, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sold the SuperSonics and its Women's National Basketball Association sister franchise, the Seattle Storm, for $350 million to the Professional Basketball Club LLC, a group of Oklahoma City investors led by Clay Bennett; the sale of the SuperSonics and Storm was approved by NBA owners the following October.
In 2007, Bennett announced that the franchise would move to Oklahoma City as soon as the lease with KeyArena expired. In June 2008, a lawsuit brought by the city of Seattle against Bennett due to his attempts to break the final two years of the Sonics' lease at KeyArena went to federal court. Nearly a month the two sides reached a settlement agreement; the terms awarded the city $45 million to get out of the remaining lease at KeyArena, would have provided an additional $30 million payment to Seattle in 2013 if certain conditions had been met. The owners agreed to leave the SuperSonics name and colors in Seattle for a possible future NBA franchise. On September 3, 2008, the team name and colors for the Oklahoma City franchise were revealed to the public; the name "Thunder" was chosen in reference to Oklahoma's location in Tornado Alley and Oklahoma City as the home of the U. S. Army's 45th Infantry Division, the Thunderbirds; the Thunder participated in the Orlando Pro Summer League featuring their second-year players, potential free agents and rookies.
The players wore generic black and white jerseys reading "OKC-NBA" against an outline of a basketball. The Thunder's temporary practice facility was the Sawyer Center at Southern Nazarene University, used by the New Orleans Hornets when they relocated to Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina; the Thunder played several preseason games before the 2008–2009 regular season, but only one of those games was in Oklahoma City. The Thunder made their first appearance in Billings, Montana on October 8, 2008 in an 88–82 preseason loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves; the Thunder played their first Ford Center game on October 14 against the Los Angeles Clippers. In their regular-season home opener, the Thunder faced the Milwaukee Bucks. Earl Watson scored the first points of the season with a layup. Three nights on November 2, the Thunder won their first game by defeating the Timberwolves, improving their record to 1–3; the team went on a 10-game losing streak before deciding on November 22 to fire head coach P. J. Carlesimo and assistant Paul Westhead.
Assistant coach Scott Brooks took over on an interim basis. Oklahoma City lost its next four games to tie the franchise losing streak of 14 set in Seattle the previous season, but the team managed to prevent history by winning their next game on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies. As the season continued, the Thunder began to improve. After starting 3–29, the Thunder finished the regular season 20–30 for the remaining fifty games. Not only were they winning more they played much more competitively than in the first part of the season; the team brought their record to 23–59 and improved upon their record of 20–62 from the team's final season in Seattle. The late-season successes of the Thunder contributed to the signing of Scott Brooks as the team's official head coach. After moving to Oklahoma City from Seattle, the team's operating situation improved markedly. In December 2008, Forbes magazine estimated the team's franchise value at $300 million – a 12 percent increase from the previous year's $268 million, when the club was located in Seattle.
Forbes noted an increase in percentage of available tickets sold, from 78 percent in the team's last season in Seattle to 100 percent in 2008–09. After an inaugural season filled with many adjustments, the Thunder hoped to improve during their second season in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City did not make any major moves in the off-season, other than drafting James Harden from Arizona State University with the third overall pick i