The Thunder is Playing Well

Friday, June 15, 2012


The NBA finals, between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, are going on this week and next. The Heat and the Thunder are singular because they have reached the championship series -- but are also singular because they are not plural. And for copy editors that presents a very serious challenge. Bob speaks with Deadspin Managing Editor Tom Scocca about the grammatical dilemma.


Tom Scocca

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [6]


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P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

Mar. 07 2013 05:20 AM

Point of order!!

The OK Thunder are not a renamed franchise. Seattle has sued and won to keep the name and history of the franchise that was stolen from our city. While the players and ownership are the same as Seattle SuperSonic’s last season, technically they are a new franchise. This is just one example amongst many. The team issued a “retro” hat sighting the Sonic’s founding year as it’s origin, and the team’s championship history has been referenced several times during the coverage of the finals. ESPN and other media should be corrected for this insulting oversight of the only remaining relic of our STOLEN culture.

Jun. 21 2012 02:24 PM
MIchael Leland from Madison, WI

This isn't really anything new. Sportswriters have written about the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox for more than 100 years, and the New Orleans/Utah Jazz since 1974.

Jun. 18 2012 12:45 PM
Norman Lewis from Gainesville, FL

The Associated Press stylebook, upon which many journalists rely, solves the problem by declaring that all team names are plural. The names of cities, however, are always singular. Thus, the Heat are contending for a title while Miami cheers on its team.

Jun. 18 2012 11:59 AM
David Good from Dearborn, Michigan

This is actually the same problem that sportswriters and copy editors have dealt with for generations when deciding whether to use a team nickname or the city's name: "Detroit has won its third straight series," but "The Tigers are still mired in third place." Except that with the Heat and the Thunder, you can't take the easy way out as per the second example. Unless, of course, you want to sound British, as was pointed out -- or, only slightly better, Canadian. ("Here come Toronto down the ice.")

Jun. 17 2012 11:41 PM
Hugh Sansom

People have been saying "the United States _is_" for over a century. It's Tom Scocca who comes across as a ponce for making a mountain out of nothing at all.

Jun. 16 2012 07:45 AM

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