Oklahoma City Blue
|Oklahoma City Blue|
|League||NBA G League|
Oklahoma City Blue
|Arena||Cox Convention Center|
|Location||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|Team colors||Blue, sunset, navy blue, yellow|
|General manager||Jesse Gould|
|Head coach||Grant Gibbs|
|Ownership||Professional Basketball Club LLC|
|Affiliation(s)||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Championships||2 (2003, 2004)|
|Conference titles||2 (2004, 2017)|
|Division titles||4 (2003, 2017, 2018, 2019)|
The Oklahoma City Blue are an NBA G League team based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the minor league affiliate of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The franchise began as the Asheville Altitude in 2001, before moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2005 and becoming the Tulsa 66ers. After nine seasons in Tulsa, the franchise moved to Oklahoma City in 2014 and were subsequently renamed the Oklahoma City Blue.
The Asheville Altitude were a founding team of the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) in 2001. They played at the Asheville Civic Center in Asheville, North Carolina, where they won back-to-back championships in 2004 and 2005.
Southwest Basketball, LLC, headed by former Indiana Pacers general manager David Kahn, was awarded four National Basketball Development League franchises in March 2005. One of the Southwest Basketball franchises was for Tulsa. The Tulsa team agreed to play for three years at the Expo Square Pavilion. Instead of the announced new franchise, the company purchased the Asheville Altitude in May 2005 and moved them to Tulsa. Southwest had a name-the-team contest, which had 1,200 entries, with the winning name, the 66ers, announced on July 29, 2005. The 66ers name comes from U.S. Route 66, which runs through state of Oklahoma and Tulsa and is a mile south of Expo Square Pavilion. On August 2, 2005, the team named Joey Meyer as the team's first head coach. For their inaugural season and under a new affiliation system, the 66ers were directly affiliated with four NBA teams: the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Hornets.
For its second season, 2006–07, the team's assigned NBA affiliated teams the Bulls and the Pacers were dropped while the New York Knicks were added. Local businessman Jono Helmerich's group purchased a 20% stake in the franchise from Southwest Basketball, while Helmerich was named team president on February 5, 2007. For the 2007–08 season, the Dallas Mavericks joined as the 66ers NBA affiliates while the Hornets were dropped.
The 66ers indicated on February 12, 2008, that for the 2008–09 season that the team would start playing at the new SpiritBank Event Center in the suburb of Bixby. Seattle SuperSonics and the Bucks were assigned on June 12, 2008, as NBA affiliates for the 2008–09 season. On July 31, 2008, the 66ers announced that Professional Basketball Club LLC, owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder, had purchased the 66ers, marking the third D-League team to be owned by an NBA team (the first two were the Los Angeles D-Fenders and the Austin Toros, owned by the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, respectively).
The one-season relationship with the arena ended with a lawsuit regarding more than $100,000 the team claimed it was owed. The 66ers filed a lawsuit seeking more than $200,000 in compensatory damages from SpiritBank Center's ownership group. The team subsequently moved to the Tulsa Convention Center in downtown Tulsa for the 2009–10 season.
In April 2010, the Tulsa 66ers reached the playoffs for the first time. The team won two postseason series to reach the D-League finals. Facing the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the team lose the final by zero games to two games.
For the 2010–11 season, the 66ers coached by Nate Tibbetts set a team record of 33–17 while also having a 14-game winning streak. In the playoff, the team reaches the semifinals facing Iowa losing the series 0–2.
In May 2012, the 66ers announced that they would return to the SpiritBank Event Center for the 2012–13 season. Before September 2013 when the OKC Thunder add the station to its Thunder Radio Network, KAKC 1300 AM was already the 66ers' radio broadcasting partner. Making the playoffs again, Tulsa won a first round series against Canton but was swept again in the semi-final this time by Rio Grande Valley.
However, in June 2014, SpiritBank announced that it would no longer seek bookings or lease the arena space. The 66ers played its last game at Sioux Falls for a 107-105 loss on April 5, 2014. The team finished 24-26 just short of making the playoffs.
Oklahoma City Blue
After getting offers from four venues, Professional Basketball Club felt none were suitable and announced the 66ers would move to Oklahoma City starting with the 2014–15 season. With the move, the team was rebranded from the 66ers to the Blue. In the 2016–17 season, the team was the regular season Western Conference champion with 34 wins, a franchise record.
|2003–04||1st||28||18||.609||Won Semifinals (Fayetteville) 116–111|
Won NBDL Finals (Huntsville) 108–106
|2004–05||2nd||27||21||.563||Won Semifinals (Huntsville) 90–86|
Won NBDL Finals (Columbus) 90–67
|2009–10||Western||5th||27||23||.540||Won First Round (Sioux Falls) 2–1|
Won Semifinals (Iowa) 2–1
Lost D-League Finals (Rio Grande Valley) 0–2
|2010–11||Western||3rd||33||17||.660||Won First Round (Texas) 2–1|
Lost Semifinals (Iowa) 0–2
|2012–13||Central||3rd||27||23||.540||Won First Round (Canton) 2–1|
Lost Semifinals (Rio Grande Valley) 0–2
|Oklahoma City Blue|
|2014–15||Southwest||2nd||28||22||.560||Lost First Round (Santa Cruz) 0–2|
|2016–17||Southwest||1st||34||16||.680||Won First Round (Santa Cruz) 2–1|
Lost Conf. Finals (Rio Grande Valley) 1–2
|2017–18||Midwest||1st||28||22||.560||Lost First Round (South Bay) 105–125|
|2018–19||Midwest||1st||34||16||.680||Won First Round (Salt Lake City) 118–113|
Lost Conf. Semifinal (Santa Cruz) 102–117
Oklahoma City Blue roster
|#||Head coach||Term||Regular season||Playoffs||Achievements|
Oklahoma City Blue
- Oklahoma City Thunder (2014–present)
- Chicago Bulls (2005–2006)
- Dallas Mavericks (2007–2008)
- Indiana Pacers (2005–2006)
- Milwaukee Bucks (2005–2008)
- New Orleans Hornets (2005–2007)
- New York Knicks (2006–2008)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (2008–2014)
- "2018-19 Quick Facts" (PDF). 2018–19 Oklahoma City Blue Media Guide. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. November 7, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
- "Oklahoma City Blue Reproduction Guideline Sheet". NBA Properties, Inc. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- "Altitude leaving Asheville". Blue Ridge Now. May 4, 2005.
- Lewis, Barry (July 19, 2014). "66ers in Tulsa: A timeline". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Tulsa 66ers set for 9th season". Tulsa Today. November 1, 2013.
- Tramel, Jimmie (September 20, 2005). "66ers get NBA parents". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Strain, Mike (June 9, 2006). "NBA D-league: 66ers get affiliates for 2006-07 season". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Staff, Tulsa Business (July 6, 2007). "66ers Announce 2007 NBA Affiliations". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Staff, Tulsa Business (June 12, 2008). "Tulsa 66ers Align With Seattle SuperSonics". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Oklahoma City NBA group has purchased Tulsa 66ers basketball franchise". Tulsa World. July 31, 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "66ers moving to Convention Center". Tulsa World. August 14, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "66ers Welcome". Bixby Breeze. GTR Newspapers. May 22, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Reports, Staff (September 10, 2013). "Thunder gets new Tulsa radio affiliate". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Robert, Evatt (June 9, 2014). "Big events no longer scheduled at SpiritBank Event Center in Bixby". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Thunder moving 66ers from Tulsa to Oklahoma City". Tulsa World. July 19, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Thunder Reveals New Name for Development Team". Oklahoma City Thunder. September 24, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Mannix, Chris (November 7, 2014). "Thunder eye panic button, Paul Pierce reminisces and more". Sports Illustrated. Time, Inc. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Kemp, Adam (April 20, 2017). "OKC Blue season ends after playoff loss to Vipers". NewsOK.com. Retrieved June 6, 2017.