OKLAHOMA CITY — One of the mandates of the Oklahoma City Thunder is to be involved in the community. From the time it has arrived, not only has the organization taken an active role in serving the community at large, but so have the players. With bookmobiles, fitness tests, visits to hospitals and schools, it seems every week members of the Thunder are actively involved in helping others around the state.
However, last weekend, the Thunder didn’t have to go far to make a difference. Their fans came to them in the form of three young men who are fighting cancer and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Korey Ray of Phoenix, Dominick Davis of Omaha, Neb. and Atlanta’s Redzep Jasarevic had their wish granted to meet members of the Thunder.
“When I found out I was really excited,” Jasarevic said. “I couldn’t believe it at first. Actually coming here, it’s a dream come true.”
The trio spent the weekend in Oklahoma City and hanging out with members of the Thunder. It started Saturday when they enjoyed a meal before taking on Ronnie Brewer, Serge Ibaka and Jeremy Lamb in bowling at the RedPin Restaurant and Bowling Lounge in Oklahoma City.
“It’s been a great experience overall,” Ray said. “Meeting all the players and getting to bowl with some of them. We won of course. Just had fun.”
According to Jasarevic, the visitors were not afraid to trade trash talk with the professionals while on the lanes.
“I was bowling with Jeremy and he kept telling me he was going to come back and win,” Jasarevic said. “But I kept hitting the strikes.”
Davis, Ray and Jasarevic then attended the Thunder’s game against Portland on Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. They sat courtside while Oklahoma City warmed up for the game, which was a special treat for Davis.
“It’s good because I plan on going pro,” Davis said. “That’s my big dream. And to be able to see what they do on the regular like with charities and the Make-A- Wish. It’s nice.”
The young men got a chance to meet the rest of the team as they came off the court, including Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Coach Scott Brooks also made sure to stop by and exchange words.
“It’s been a dream come true,” Jasarevic said. “The best part about it has been being out here and meeting the players. Watching them warm up before the game has been great. I like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I like all of them. It was really awesome.”
The group was then treated to dinner at the arena as they watched Oklahoma City beat the Trailblazers.
Ray, Davis and Jasarevic all said they had a great time and couldn’t believe Make-A-Wish was able to make their wish come true. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish come true can have positive impacts on the health of children.
“It’s a blessing,” Davis said. “To be able to go through what we go through, and then like have this be like a celebration for us, it’s real nice” Davis said. “It means a lot. It shows just because they are famous, they aren’t stuck up. They are still normal people who care about other people.”
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