A handful of college and professional sports team derive their names from weather. But when the Miami Heat clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA finals Tuesday, it would appear to be the first championship level weather confrontation.
(Update: I’ve been alerted by readers that in 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning played the Calgary Flames in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals - “Flames” though - is not unambiguously a weather name)
The contest is already spinning up the weather-motivated puns.
My favorite so far: The Bleacher Report’s Kelly Scaletta headlines a story: Heat Model vs. Thunder Model: Which Is Better?
Here’s another headline, this one from Mark Eckel of The Times of Trenton: “‘Winter’ playoffs sizzling”.
Eckel adds in his column: “The Heat and Thunder, which might be better suited for The Weather Channel, will go for it all starting tomorrow night in OKC.”
Ira Winderman of NBC Sports also alludes to weather in his latest column, projecting: “Heat and Thunder stand as a long-range forecast.”
Suffice to say, there will be plenty more weather references once the series starts.
We’ll no doubt see variations of these kinds of headlines:
“Heat go cold against Thunder”, “Thunder cool the Heat”, “Heat suffocate the Thunder”, “Heat overwhelm Thunder”, “Heat stymie Thunder”, “Thunder blow out the Heat”, “Heat crush Thunder”, “Thunder rock the Heat”, “Heat overpower Thunder”, etc.
Got a good one? Leave a comment below...
Other sports teams with weather names
More than a year ago, I wrote about the unveiling of the new name for Omaha, Nebraska’s AAA baseball club: the Storm Chasers. At the time, I queried readers for other teams with sports names, and came up with the following:
College: Miami Hurricanes, Iowa State Cyclones, St. John’s Red Storm, Tulsa Golden Hurricanes, Arizona State Sun Devils, Alabama Crimson Tide, Tulane Green Wave
NBA: Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns
WNBA: Seattle Storm, Connecticut Sun
Minor League Baseball: Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA), Norfolk Tides (AAA), New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA), Trenton Thunder (AA), Lake Elsinore Storm(A), Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A)
Hockey: Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche
Major League Soccer: San Jose Earthquakes
There are probably more out there...so help me complete the list...