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Team Spirit



With much of our attention directed to giving thanks this month, we couldn’t help turning our focus to the OKC Thunder, an organization that defines the concept of community champions.

Unifying the entire state, as the Thunder has done from the first tipoff in 2008, might have been enough to evoke gratitude from every Oklahoman, but this is an organization that defies the odds as a matter of course, going beyond – way beyond – expectations.

A young fan and Serge Ibaka on the Book BusThunder forward/center Serge Ibaka believes those expectations extend to community involvement as well, acknowledging that Oklahoma has embraced the Thunder and in turn, the Thunder has reciprocated in big ways off the court. “Basketball is not everything in life,” Ibaka observes. “There is something more important than basketball, too. So for me, my teammates and the Thunder organization, it’s very important for us going back into the community to give back every time we can.”

Through its Thunder Cares Foundation, the Thunder has connected to the community with a number of outreach projects that support nonprofit groups, Oklahoma schools and other organizations. Over four years, the Thunder has made more than 900 community appearances to promote literacy, fitness and nutrition, youth basketball camps and many examples of volunteerism.

Thunder center Kendrick Perkins points to the team’s frequent interaction with children as an essential part of the organization’s outreach. “We get to go to Boys and Girls Clubs. We get to go to different high schools and different elementary schools. Each and every one of us were one of those kids and they all have a dream just like we had a dream,” Perkins says.

Thunder guard James Harden agrees that interaction with fans is just as rewarding from a player’s perspective as it is for the fans. “Every time I do an appearance and go see kids – or just people – and make them smile and impact their lives, for that time that I’m there, that’s all I can do. And that’s what makes me smile,” Harden says.

While the NBA encourages player involvement within the community as part of its global outreach initiative, NBA Cares, the Thunder regularly exceeds the recommended level of hands-on service and appearances to support the initiative. During the 2011-12 season, the Thunder finished second among 30 NBA teams in player community appearances.

“The involvement in these programs and events has brought some great moments,” explains Thunder Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations, Dan Mahoney.

“It’s very important for us, going back into the community, to give back every time we can.” – Serge Ibaka

Mahoney describes the Thunder’s partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation last spring as an example of one of the most emotional collaborations with a charity. Lorelei Decker, then a high school senior from Putnam City North who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during her senior year, wished to be a Thunder coach for a day. Although the Thunder enthusiastically agreed when Make-A-Wish contacted them, they couldn’t have predicted that they would be on the receiving end of inspiration, as they were when they met Lorelei. “She is so special to us,” Mahoney says, “and we’ve remained involved with her progress.”

Lorelei Decker is coach for a day, thanks to the Thunder’s response to a request from Make-A-Wish.

This month, despite the frenetic pace of season openers, televised games and unforgiving travel schedules, the Thunder will take time to celebrate Thanksgiving by serving a holiday meal for a local charity. Last year, in a partnership with Cox Communications, the Thunder served more than 1,000 Thanksgiving dinners at the City Rescue Mission. The same partnership has resulted in holiday shopping sprees with Target and holiday donations for families in need.

“We’ve tried to establish some traditions of giving back,” says Mahoney, predicting that the Thunder will observe many of those traditions again this season, while adding in a few new ones as well.

Mahoney notes that the Thunder Cares Foundation does not solicit public donations, but fans often contribute through their participation in various fundraisers, such as purchasing signed items that are auctioned at home games, with proceeds directed to specific causes. 

Here’s a snapshot of some of the Thunder’s giving:

READ TO ACHIEVE

Rolling Thunder Book Bus
732 Book Bus visits
57,224 free books distributed

Reading Timeout
3,200 Oklahoma children have had a book read to them and have taken the Reader’s Pledge

Reading Challenge
41,958 students representing 14 school districts have read for 48,999,073 minutes

The Thunder-themed, converted school bus travels to schools, community centers, museums, parks and other sites throughout the year to promote reading and literacy. Each student who visits the bus receives a free book to encourage a love of reading
More than 57,000 books have been given away so far


FITNESS AND NUTRITION
Thunder Fit Clinics
3,070 middle school students have participated in 42 clinics
Homeland Shopping Spree
14 families served, 45 carts filled with groceries


YOUTH BASKETBALL
Thunder Youth Basketball Camps

More than 4,000 kids have participated in 40 camps

Rumble Mini-Dribblers
Presented by: Cox Communications
300 kids have performed at Chesapeake Energy Arena


HOLIDAY ASSIST
Turkey Giveaway

1,600 Thanksgiving dinners
24,000 pounds of turkey distributed

City Rescue Mission Dinner
1,000 holiday meals served

Holiday Shopping Spree
More than 100 children and grandparents have shopped with the Thunder

Holiday Blood Drive
3,686 potential donors participated

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Calendar

September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
Website »

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
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