Even in the dead of summer, it is difficult to remember that Oklahoma can get cold. The weeks and months of fiery heat and wind akin to opening an oven and going in face-first make the days of winter seem alien.
Today we will marry both summer and winter. Why, you ask? Today is Franchise Thunder Insider Madysson Morris’ birthday!
During those winter months before the world got turned upside down, Morris was busy with her Oklahoma City Thunder duties. In the midst of covering a professional basketball team every day, she began to influence the masses with one hashtag — #TurtleneckGang.
“I started this thing at the beginning of the season,” Morris said on the OKC-82 Podcast with Deonte Burton on December 3rd. “I love turtlenecks. [Danilo Gallinari] wore one earlier in the year, then I saw [Sam] Presti wear one. [Darius] Bazley wore one, Dennis [Schroder] did too. So I added them all to my Turtleneck Gang.”
Morris, whose style borders on IG model, would rock said clothing for many Thunder games. Her influence spread from followers on Twitter and even to the very team she covered.
Following her podcast with Burton, the Thunder reserve forward wore this white turtleneck to the game later that night against the Indiana Pacers.
Since the Thunder is known for their style over the years, what exactly do some of the players feel about this eccentric sweater?
“I’m a fan… kind of,” Steven Adams told The Franchise on February 5. “Depends on who you are I think. I think it is kind of those mysterious wears, isn’t it? When you wear one, people will comment on it.”
To help facilitate the interview, I showed Adams a picture of me wearing a black turtleneck the previous home game.
“It looks bizarre. You look like Steve Jobs,” Adams added. “I wonder what your success rate is with women, if you wear one.”
“I think it is kind of those mysterious wears, isn’t it? When you wear one, people will comment on it.” -Steven Adams on turtlenecks
Adams’ backup Nerlens Noel shares more than a position with the New Zealander. Noel seems to have a pragmatic approach when it comes to Morris’ favorite winter wear.
“When done appropriately they can look pretty smooth,” Noel told The Franchise on January 9. “I like the look. I’m trying to creep into it a little bit. It’s a style you have to damn-near perfect [before going out in public].”
“It’s a very… finesse look. Don’t play with it lightly.” -Nerlens Noel on turtlenecks
Noel would go on to describe a phenomenon known as “wrongly done turtleneck” in which many people fall under. Interestingly enough, this phenomenon is understood amongst the Thunder’s fashion mafia.
“They’re nice when worn correctly,” Burton said on December 31. “It’s hard to do but I’ve seen it done before [someone wearing one who shouldn’t].”
Count Darius Bazley amongst those who would not fall under Noel’s “wrongly done turtleneck” category. The 20-year old has made his mark as the so-called Fresh Prince of OKC with his flashy style — or as the kids say, “drip.”
“Wearing a turtleneck inappropriately would be… honestly I don’t know,” Bazley said with noticeable disdain. “I would rock it. It’s a good look on me.”
Other Thunder players like Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander even requested turtlenecks for the tailor-made suits Chris Paul made for the team early in the season.
“Dennis did one for the suits that CP got,” Noel said. “Shai did too. They looked good and clean, man.”
Morris’ influence was not only unique to Thunder players and fans. Even the realm of sports entertainment was penetrated by the turtleneck.
During a January 3 interview with Jerry Ramsey, the WWE’s own Montez Ford asked Morris to join her exclusive club.
As the Thunder prepare for the postseason nearly one year after the 2019-20 season began, the winter months seem like a distant memory. With the team in Orlando, there will be few opportunities to don the Thunder’s unofficial sweater uniform.
But that time will be here shortly. Winter is coming, and Madysson Morris is coming with a turtleneck.
Warning: Do not go buy one on a whim. Don’t be rocking a “wrongly done turtleneck”
Happy birthday Madysson!
Brady Trantham has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for The Franchise since April 2018 and for Thunder Digest since 2016. He hosts a Thunder podcast with Madysson Morris “OKC-82 Podcast” which can be found on all podcast outlets, and is a co-host on the Franchise Thunder Insider’s Show on Saturdays from 10-12. Brady is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma class of 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BradyDoesSports