MOORE — The NBA season is less than three weeks away and the Oklahoma City Thunder are in full preparation mode. With the motivation of bouncing back from an early postseason exit last year, it’s a pivotal year for the franchise.
However, the Thunder haven’t forgotten one of their most important duties, which is to be a servant to the community that supports them. It’s something general manager Sam Presti has stressed since the organization first arrived.
That’s why the Thunder were in Moore Sunday afternoon holding their annual blue and white scrimmage in front of a packed Westmoore gymnasium of Moore residents including families, school faculty and first responders to the May 20th tornado.
“Obviously we’ve done this every season we’ve been in Oklahoma,” Presti said. “It’s become a tradition. That’s an important thing for us to continue to establish that and bring the open scrimmage to many different places. But this year, obviously, it holds a lot of significance for our organization. We are proud to be here and the players are excited to play in front of the support that’s here in Moore.”
Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and the rest of the Thunder played three 10 minute quarters of basketball. It was the first time this season anyone in the U.S. has gotten to see the team play live.
The boys and girls basketball teams from Moore, Westmoore and Southmoore were on hand before the fans were allowed in and they had serious conversation with Presti about a variety of topics. They also got to see examples of giving back to their community.
“I hope to take away the spirit of giving back,” Westmoore athletic director John Burris said. “These guys with the Thunder didn’t have to do this. But they chose to. So hopefully when our athletes see somebody in need, hopefully they will learn how to give back and reach out.”