Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder is an American professional basketball team based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The team plays in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Its home court is at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder's NBA Development League affiliate is the Oklahoma City Blue, which is owned by the Thunder. The Thunder is the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the state of Oklahoma.
Formerly the Seattle SuperSonics, the team relocated in 2008 after a dispute between owner Clay Bennett and lawmakers in Seattle, Washington. As the SuperSonics, the franchise qualified for the NBA Playoffs 22 times, won their division six times, and won the 1979 NBA Championship. In Oklahoma City, the Thunder qualified for their first playoff berth during the 2009–10 season. They followed that success by winning 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 club was based in Seattle.
Chesapeake Energy Arena
Chesapeake Energy Arena (called the Ford Center from its opening in 2002 until 2010 and then the Oklahoma City Arena until 2011) is an arena located in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The arena has been the home venue of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s Oklahoma City Thunder since the 2008–09 season–their first season after the team relocated from Seattle, Washington, where they were known as the SuperSonics (a.k.a. the Sonics). The arena was also the home of the Central Hockey League (CHL)'s Oklahoma City Blazers until the team folded in July 2009, and the home of the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz arena football team, which moved to the Cox Convention Center.
It is owned by the city and operated by the SMG property management company.
Of special note, Chesapeake Energy Arena (then known as the Ford Center) served as the temporary home for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets (now known as the Pelicans) when they were forced to play games elsewhere following the decimation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. The response in the two seasons the Hornets played in Oklahoma City (2005–07) was an impetus to Oklahoma City being discussed prior to 2008 as a future NBA city, either by relocation or expansion.
In addition to its use as a sports venue, Chesapeake Energy Arena hosts concerts, family and social events, conventions, ice shows, and civic events.