Let me start off with an acknowledgment: newspaper columnists who think they can single-handedly pull off the creation of a buzz word or nickname are asking for trouble. The most talented sportswriter in this state still finds himself virtually alone in referring to the Thunder as the “Boomers.”
So as I proceed in this endeavor, let me start off by saying “The Big Friendly” isn’t my idea. Instead, it was an idea thought up by veteran civic booster Lee Allan Smith and promoted with equal vigor by the equally legendary civic booster Ray Ackerman.
I wrote about this “Big Friendly” idea in my column Tuesday and how it had been picked up by the NBA. After watching the national coverage this past week, this city is at a crossroads: the opportunity to craft a new image is here. Either we let the national media continue to tie our image to disasters (the bombing, the embellished “Grapes of Wrath,” tornadoes, etc) or we can go all out with “The Big Friendly.”
I say let’s go with “The Big Friendly.” And let’s not be shy. This is a challenge to the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. You guys thought enough of this title that from what I’ve seen you sought and obtained a copyright. I know you’re out there reading this blog – seeing if I’m writing stuff you like, something that might catch you by surprise – or if I’m being mischievous.
The national media is at this moment in love with this town. And by all accounts the Thunder have done well representing who we are – a team, not without it’s flaws, but relatively free of ego and willing to work hard to prove the skeptics wrong. When the Lakers return to Oklahoma City Friday, media in tow, it’s hard to see how this won’t be THE MOMENT to either go for a win cementing a new brand for what we’ve been all along: “The Big Friendly.”
ONE FINAL THOUGHT: I know there are a lot of talented young readers who follow this blog, and more than a few of you seem to have a knack with graphic design. Feel free to come up with a logo or design for The Big Friendly that maybe folks can use Friday night on homemade signs, etc. I’ll be happy to post the art on this site, along with credits to creators, etc.