OKC Thunder Dedicates New Basketball Courts In Moore


Wednesday, October 22nd 2014, 7:38 pm
By: News 9


When the May 20 tornado hit Moore, the Oklahoma City Thunder was among the first to help out.

Kevin Durant donated $1 million to relief efforts. He and other players also visited to the victims to help with recovery.

The Thunder is now making good on a promise the team made a year ago.

In October 2013, the team announced it would pay to rebuild outdoor basketball courts at the three schools damaged, if not destroyed, by the deadly tornado on May 20.

"When we walked out of the gymnasium, there was no floor, there was no basketball court," Debbie Tarren, physical education teacher at Highland East Junior High, said.

Tarren was in the gym when it collapsed. She said the absence of the basketball court was an unpleasant reminder of the storm.

So, the ribbon cutting for a new outdoor court paid for by the Thunder Cares Foundation was a welcomed relief.

Six players made the rounds to all three schools on Wednesday afternoon.

"I grow up like some of these kids, and every time I see some basketball court, it made me happy," Serge Ibaka said. 

Ibaka said he wanted the youngest victims of the storms to have the same happiness.

The team paid for the project not just for the sport of it, but because the Thunder believes school facilities are the heart of neighborhoods.

"The community always support the Thunder, so we want to make sure and come out and support and put a smile on their faces," Sebastian Telfair said.

The kids were all smiles during ribbon cutting ceremonies at each of the schools.

"It was fun that we actually got to meet some of the Thunder players, and that we actually got to play on the new court," Ashanti Day, a seventh-grader at Highland East who aspires to play in the Women's National Basketball Association, said. 

From shooting hoops, snagging autographs and taking selfies, kids of all ages took part in the fun.

"This is extra, extra cool right here," said Telfair. "Man, I wish I was a kid again."

The project was a slam dunk for the Thunder and its tiniest, but perhaps biggest fans.