By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Oklahoma City Thunder have made it a tradition to hold their Blue/White scrimmage in unique places. Last year, it was held in Bixby in front of a jam-packed crowd of enthusiastic fans.
This year, the Thunder have chosen Moore as the host city for its intrasquad Blue/White scrimmage. Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder will be at Westmoore High School Sunday for the event. It’s scheduled to start at 3 p.m. in the Jaguars’ gymnasium.
“The Thunder representatives contacted our public information director, Jimi Fleming, to discuss the possibilities of having the Blue/White scrimmage in Moore this year,” Westmoore boys basketball coach Scott Hodges said. “We met with them for them to tour our facilities at Westmoore and make sure our gym had adequate space, locker rooms, training rooms, etc. for them to hold their scrimmage at Westmoore.”
Before the players arrive, Thunder General Manger Sam Presti will speak with the members of the boys and girls basketball teams from Westmoore, Moore and Southmoore.
“All three high school boys and girls basketball teams will sit behind the Thunder benches during the game,” Hodges said. “They were very insistent that this activity benefit all three schools in our district. It will be a great experience for all of the high school basketball players and coaches and other members of the Moore public Schools faculty and staff in Moore.”
It will also be an experience for the fans who are lucky enough to get a chance to watch. Admission is free; however, the Thunder are only allotting a specific amount of tickets to the school district.
“There will be a raffle for the members of the Moore Public School community to see who gets tickets,” Hodges said. “Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space to allow everyone in the community to come to the scrimmage. The Thunder organization wanted to conduct this scrimmage to honor Moore Public Schools after everything we went through last May. It really is a great gesture by the Thunder and should be a lot of fun for a lot of people.”
Since arriving in Oklahoma, the Thunder have made their presence felt in the community. From visiting hospitals to touring tornado-ravaged Moore, the players and team officials continue to help.
After the May 20 tornado, Durant, through his foundation, donated $1 million to the Red Cross and it was soon matched by Chesapeake. Two weeks ago, Thunder players Reggie Jackson, Perry Jones and Daniel Orton visited several sites in Moore to check on the rebuilding process and visit with those affected by the tornado.
It’s also not the first time the Thunder and Jaguars have combined for a good cause. In 2010 members of both teams visited children at the Special Care Inc., a daycare for children with special needs, including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Down Syndrome and other physical, mental and multi-disabling conditions. It offers year-round early childhood education, therapy and after school and summer programs for children with and without special needs.
“Everyone who follows the Thunder the organization closely knows they are organization that does things the right way, on and off the court,” Hodges said. “Their goal in having this scrimmage in Moore is for us to know how much they care and respect everything that has happened over the past few months. It really says a lot about the Thunder to think of us for this. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for our basketball players to get to watch some of the best players in the world. Everyone is very excited about Sunday; it should be a lot of fun for everyone involved.”