Before basketball season, the new Oklahoma City franchise had to pick a new basketball nickname — the first new one since Toronto chose the Raptors in 1995, on the heels of the popularity of Jurassic Park. We're disappointed to report that Oklahoma City decided to call its team the Thunder. Maybe Oklahoma City Dark Knights was too easy a target for lawyers, but we've got a few other scifi suggestions for teams likely to be picking new names soon.The Toronto Raptors represented a glorious first step for the science fiction nickname movement. Sure there's the Nashville Predators of the NHL, but they haven't taken the initiative to go invisible on the ice, and that is disappointing. The Raptors went dino after picking from a short list of Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs, Raptors, Scorpions, T-Rex, Tarantulas, and Terriers.

Former Blockbuster magnate Wayne Huizenga is selling his majority stake in the Miami Dolphins, one of the most storied franchises in football, to New York real estate developer Stephen Ross for $1.1 billion. Considering their one-win season last year, now might be the time for an image change. When the Miami franchise was established in 1965, fans chose between the Mariners, Marauders, Mustangs, Missiles, Moons, Sharks, and Suns. There's clearly a precedent for starfaring water mammals in this town, and they have a perfect model in the wonderful world of David Brin's gregarious, sexually-charged dolphins. Perhaps eventually they can uplift the Dolphin fans into sentience as well.

Los Angeles-area moguls have been promising a return to the NFL for the city since Rams moved from L.A. to St. Louis in 1995. They'll need a new name for a new franchise. Do they have any idea how much of a hit Cylons would be? Plus with Battlestar Galactica soon to be off the air, many of the real Cylons will be looking for work. Edward James Olmos is already drooling at what he'll net in related autograph sessions. The NFL at that point can work on getting actual Cylons to replace their terrible referees.


Seattle first professional baseball team was called the Pilots. Clearly the flying meme didn't work out because the Pilots were moved to Milwaukee and renamed the Brewers by now-commissioner Bud Selig. Baseball promised Seattle another team, and the nickname became the Mariners, a franchise that has never made the World Series in its history. For our part, we blame it all on the team's current mascot, The Mariner Moose. Gifted with the perfect model of an actual Mariner in Marvel Comics hero-villain Namor, this franchise chose a Moose. We suggest that 100 losses in a season should have them rethinking this, and opting to append a Sub- to that Mariner. Namor shall be ignored no longer!


The increasing speed at which planes now cross the Atlantic has made Europe an option for a new generation for U.S. born players. NBA commissioner David Stern has talked loosely about establishing the first European franchise in order to mine a lucrative market. What better name for the solitary, constantly traveling franchise than the Hitchhikers? You could sell The Guide next to team trinkets and jerseys, and Marvin's head kinda looks like you could be dribbling it anyway. You play clips from the radio show on the loudspeaker during time-outs; hell throw in Roger Waters' The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking during time-outs. Tell me you wouldn't root for that team.