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The Oklahoma City Thunder is an American professional basketball franchise 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.
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 later, the two sides reached an agreement to settle. The terms awarded the city $45 million to get out of the remaining lease at KeyArena, and could provide an additional $30 million payment to Seattle in 2013 if certain conditions are met. The owners agreed to leave the SuperSonics name, logo and colors in Seattle for a possible future NBA franchise; however, the items would remain the property of the Oklahoma City team along with other "assets," including championship banners and trophies. On September 3, 2008, the team name, logo, and colors for the Oklahoma City franchise were revealed to the public. The name "Thunder" was chosen due to Oklahoma being a frequent victim of powerful storms for its location in the Tornado Alley, and Oklahoma City housing the 45th Infantry Division, the Thunderbirds.