The Shock were one of the first WNBA expansion teams and began play in 1998. The Shock quickly brought in a blend of rookies and veterans. The team only qualified for the postseason once in its first five years of existence. The Shock went through two coaches (hall of famerNancy Lieberman and Greg Williams) before hiring former Detroit Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer. There were rumors the Shock would fold after the team's awful 2002 season. Laimbeer convinced the owners to keep the team for another year, certain that he could turn things around.
After massive changes to the roster, Laimbeer predicted before the 2003 season that the Shock would be league champions, and his prediction would unbelievably come true. The Shock finished with a 25-9 record and winning the number one seed by seven games. In the playoffs, the Shock defeated the Cleveland Rockers and the Connecticut Sun to reach the WNBA Finals. Despite the achievements, the Shock were viewed as huge underdogs to the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks. The Shock emerged victorious in the series, winning a thrilling game three (in 2003, the Finals were a best-of-three series) which drew the largest crowd in WNBA history (22,076). Detroit became the first team in league history to go from last place one season to WNBA champions the very next season.
After coming up short in 2004 and 2005, the 2006 Shock finished 23-11 record and finished number two in the Eastern Conference. The Shock defeated the Indiana Fever and the Connecticut Sun to advance to the Finals again, where they faced the defending champion Sacramento Monarchs. The Shock won the series 3-2, and claimed their second WNBA title.
In 2007, the Shock again advanced to the Finals but were defeated by the Phoenix Mercury in five games. The 2008 Shock posted a 22-12 regular season record, the best record in the East yet again. In the Finals, the Shock faced the San Antonio Silver Stars, who had not lost to an Eastern Conference team all season. Surprisingly, Detroit swept San Antonio, capturing their third championship in franchise history.
The Shock were named favorites for 2009, but they had a rough road getting there. Bill Laimbeer resigned as head coach early in the season, and they even found themselves in the bottom of the standings. However, interim coach Rick Mahorn and the Shock bounced back in the second half of 2009 and eventually placed themselves in the playoffs for the seventh straight year at 18-16. The Shock lost in the second round to the Indiana Fever, failing to reach the Finals for the first time since 2005.
Tulsa had been mentioned as a possible future city for WNBA expansion, but efforts did not come together until the middle of 2009. An organizing committee with Tulsa businesspeople and politicians began the effort to attract an expansion team. The group was originally given a September 1 deadline. WNBA President Donna Orender extended that deadline to sometime in October. The investment group hired former University of Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson as the potential franchise general manager and head coach. Richardson was a local favorite; before his successful 18-year stint at Arkansas, he had spent five years as head coach at the University of Tulsa, leading them to the NIT title in his first year. This move was viewed as strange by some, considering that Tulsa had not even secured a franchise before hiring a coach. The investors claimed it was to show the league they were serious about wanting a team. On October 15, 2009, the group made its official request to join the league.
On October 20, 2009, WNBA President Donna Orender, lead investors Bill Cameron and David Box, Tulsa mayor Kathy Taylor, Oklahoma governorBrad Henry, and head coach Nolan Richardson were present for a press conference announcing that the Detroit Shock would relocate to Tulsa. On January 23, 2010, the franchise announced that the team will remain as the Shock. The colors are now black, red, and gold.
The Shock team that moved to Tulsa was much different than what investors thought they were purchasing. Detroit's four best players did not make the move to Tulsa. Cheryl Ford decided to sit out due to lingering injuries. Taj McWilliams-Franklin signed a free agent contract with New York. Deanna Nolan decided to take time off from the WNBA, and has not returned as of the end of the 2014 season. Katie Smith, who was believed to be contracted with the Shock (which only turned out to be a verbal agreement), signed with Washington. Along with all the absences, new head coach and general manager Nolan Richardson had his own ideas about what he wanted the roster to look. By the middle of the 2010 season, there were no Detroit players left on the team.
Richardson's first draft pick, Amanda Thompson, was a bust; she only played seven games (no starts) and was waived only a month into the season. Another key signing, disgraced Olympic track star Marion Jones, turned out to be less than hoped for as well; she hadn't played a meaningful basketball game since her days at North Carolina 13 years earlier.
A lack of continuity plagued the team; at times it seemed Richardson made roster moves on a game-to-game basis. The players also found it difficult to adjust to Richardson's frenetic "40 minutes of hell" style. The Shock finished with an awful 6-28 record, dead last in the league. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2002 in Detroit. Having such a bad record meant the Shock qualified for the draft lottery, and they were awarded the number two pick in the 2011 Draft.
The Shock selected 19-year-old Australian center Liz Cambage with hopes to build a successful team around her. The team also signed veteran and one of the original WNBA players, Sheryl Swoopes. The roster changes were not enough, however, and after the team started the season with a dreadful 1-10 record, head coach Richardson stepped down. Assistant coach Teresa Edwards took his place on an interim basis. Jones was waived a few days later. Things did not improve for the Shock, who entered the All-Star break with a 1-14 record. Later in the season, the Shock set a new mark for futility when they embarked on a 20 game losing streak, the longest losing streak in the history of the WNBA.
In 2012, the misery continued as the team began the season 1-11, going on to finish 9-25.
Tulsa Pro Hoops LLC, composed of Bill Cameron and David Box (majority owners), and Chris Christian, Pat Chernicky, Sam and Rita Combs, Pat and Don Hardin, Paula Marshall, Stuart and Linda Price, and Katie and Scott Schofield (2010–present)
Currently, some Shock games are broadcast on The Cox Channel (COX), which is a local television station for certain areas of the state of Oklahoma. More often than not, NBA TV will pick up the feed from the local broadcast, which is shown nationally. The broadcasters for the Shock games are Mike Wolfe and Shanna Crossley.
All games (excluding blackout games, which are available on ESPN3.com) are broadcast to the WNBA LiveAccess game feeds on the league website. Furthermore, some Shock games are broadcast nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. The WNBA has reached an eight year agreement with ESPN, which will pay right fees to the Shock, as well as other teams in the league.
July 29, 1999: The Shock traded Korie Hlede and Cindy Brown to the Utah Starzz in exchange for Wendy Palmer and Olympia Scott-Richardson.
April 24, 2000: The Shock traded Jennifer Azzi and the 12th pick in the 2000 Draft to the Utah Starzz in exchange for the third and eighth picks in the 2000 Draft.
April 20, 2001: The Shock traded Val Whiting to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2002 Draft.
April 24, 2001: The Shock traded Anna DeForge to the Houston Comets in exchange for Jennifer Rizzotti.
May 13, 2001: The Shock traded Tamicha Jackson to the Portland Fire in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2002 Draft.
May 27, 2001: The Shock traded Jennifer Rizzotti to the Cleveland Rockers in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2002 Draft.
May 27, 2001: The Shock traded Olympia Scott-Richardson and a third-round pick in the 2002 Draft to the Indiana Fever in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2002 Draft.
May 3, 2002: The Shock traded Claudia das Neves to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2003 Draft.
May 11, 2002: The Shock traded a fourth-round pick in the 2003 Draft to the Sacramento Monarchs in exchange for Stacy Clinesmith.
July 7, 2002: The Shock traded Wendy Palmer and a second-round pick in the 2003 Draft to the Orland Miracle in exchange for Elaine Powell and a first-round pick in the 2003 Draft.
April 27, 2003: The Shock traded Dominique Canty to the Houston Comets in exchange for Allison Curtin.
April 28, 2003: The Shock traded Edwina Brown and Lanae Williams to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for Telisha Quarles and Petra Ujhelyi.
April 29, 2003: The Shock traded Kara Lawson to the Sacramento Monarchs in exchange for Kendra Holland-Corn.
May 19, 2003: The Shock traded a third-round pick in the 2004 Draft to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Tamara Moore.
July 31, 2003: The Shock traded Tamara Moore to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for Stacey Thomas.
February 11, 2004: The Shock traded Kendra-Holland Corn and the 26th pick in the 2004 Draft to the Houston Comets in exchange for the 11th and the 32nd picks in the 2004 Draft.
April 17, 2004: The Shock traded Shereka Wright, Sheila Lambert and Erika Valek to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for Chandi Jones.
April 14, 2005: The Shock traded Iciss Tillis to the Washington Mystics in exchange for the 13th pick in the 2005 Draft.
June 29, 2005: The Shock traded Andrea Stinson and a second-round pick in the 2006 Draft to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for Plenette Pierson.
July 30, 2005: The Shock traded Chandi Jones, Stacey Thomas, and a first-round pick in the 2006 Draft to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Katie Smith and a second-round pick in the 2006 Draft.
April 5, 2006: The Shock traded Ambrosia Anderson and a second-round pick in the 2007 Draft to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Jacqueline Batteast and a third-round pick in the 2007 Draft.
May 18, 2006: The Shock traded two third-round picks in the 2007 Draft to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for Angelina Williams.
February 22, 2007: The Shock traded Ruth Riley to the San Antonio Silver Stars in exchange for Katie Feenstra and the right to swap first-round picks in the 2008 Draft.
February 6, 2008: The Shock traded Ivory Latta to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for LaToya Thomas and the 18th pick in the 2008 Draft.
February 19, 2008: The Shock traded Swin Cash to the Seattle Storm in exchange for the fourth pick in the 2008 Draft.
June 22, 2008: The Shock traded LaToya Thomas to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Eshaya Murphy.
August 12, 2008: The Shock traded Eshaya Murphy, Tasha Humphrey, and a second-round pick in the 2009 Draft to the Washington Mystics in exchange for Taj McWilliams-Franklin.
April 9, 2009: The Shock traded Ashley Shields to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for the 18th pick in the 2009 Draft.
April 7, 2010: The Shock traded the seventh pick in the 2010 Draft and a second-round pick in the 2011 Draft to the Connecticut Sun in exchange for Chante Black and Amber Holt.
April 14, 2010: The Shock traded Crystal Kelly to the San Antonio Silver Stars in exchange for Shanna Crossley.
May 27, 2010: The Shock traded Shavonte Zellous to the Indiana Fever in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2011 Draft.
June 14, 2010: The Shock traded Plenette Pierson to the New York Liberty in exchange for Tiffany Jackson.
July 22, 2010: The Shock traded Kara Braxton to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for Nicole Ohlde and a first-round pick in the 2011 Draft.
July 26, 2010: The Shock traded Alexis Hornbuckle to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Rashanda McCants.
February 1, 2011: The Shock traded a second-round pick in the 2012 Draft to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for Andrea Riley.
May 2, 2011: The Shock traded Scholanda Robinson to the San Antonio Silver Stars in exchange for second- and third-round picks in the 2012 Draft.
January 12, 2012: The Shock traded Andrea Riley to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for Temeka Johnson.
July 2, 2012: The Shock traded Karima Christmas to the Indiana Fever in exchange for Roneeka Hodges.
March 1, 2013: The Shock traded Deanna Nolan, a second-round pick, and a third-round pick in the 2013 Draft to the New York Liberty in exchange for Nicole Powell. As part of the three-team trade, the Shock also traded their second-round pick in the 2014 Draft to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Candice Wiggins.
June 20, 2013: The Shock traded Kayla Pedersen to the Connecticut Sun in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2014 Draft.