The Paycom Center was filled with young ladies participating in the Angel Tree Sports Camp. The camp benefits kids with parents that are incarcerated.
“As they started walking down, seeing the lights and the jumbotron you can see their eyes lighting up. It’s a pretty cool experience to be able to, like, be on the court where Oklahoma Thunder plays,” Karen Lopez said.
The Thunder youth basketball coach says to be a great teammate your heart has to be in the game. Heart meaning, hard work, encourage attitude, respect and teamwork. Former WNBA player Betty Lennox said that goes for on the court and off.
“I started playing basketball in the third grade, so I’ve had that ball in my hand since I’ve been about in the third grade. This is a prime time to get started to play the game that you really want to play and this is the gift that God has given me and it created a game for me to play,” Lennox said.
As the Oklahoma native sits in the stands, she said she sees so much of herself in these girls.
“The memories that it brought back was being this young, wanting, having a dream, having the desires they want to. I realized I missed it. My life story is probably similar to a lot of those kids out there on that basketball court today. I didn’t have a whole lot growing up and what not,” Lennox said.
Lennox said her trust in God got her to where she is today. The Angel Tree Sports Camp encourages kids to know that their hardships do not define them and to have a little faith.
“While we have programs to minister to prisoners who are inside of prison, it's really important that we minister to their families that we've left behind so that we can help change the course and break the cycles,” Lopez said.