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Thabo Sefolosha: Joy and Thunder

Conversation



His African name, Thabo, translates as “celui qui amène la joie,” or, “the one who brings joy.” The upside, if there is one, of a mid-season calf injury is that it gave us an opportunity to convince Oklahoma City Thunder defensive man Thabo Sefolosha to slow down long enough for a lively conversation about the game’s best fans, pre-game rituals
and life off the court.

At the end of the happy conversation, we were certain the son of South African and Swiss parents was very aptly named.

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You were born and raised in Switzerland? Yes. Vevey, just along Lake Geneva.

Had you been to the U.S. prior to joining the NBA? No, I’d always dreamed of being in the U.S.

What surprised you the most about the U.S. when you got here? How BIG everything is! For me – I’m 6’7”– that was a good thing!

Where did you meet your wife, Bertille? We met when I was playing in France.

You’ve played basketball in several countries and cities. What’s different about the Oklahoma City crowd? If it’s late in the 4th quarter and we’re losing, the fans are still there, on their feet, cheering us on. It’s amazing. I’ve never seen that anywhere else. It’s so much fun to play for them.

Do you have any pre-game rituals? Yes. Since I began in the NBA, I’ve eaten the same thing – chicken – before every game, with fresh-squeezed orange juice. And at some point, I take a nap.

Do you cook? I can make enough things to eat for about eight days! I’m just OK at it. I’ve learned by watching other people. That’s how I learned to drive, in fact.

No Driver’s Ed. in Switzerland? They have it, but it’s terribly expensive. I just practiced with friends.

What do you value most in your friends, besides teaching you how to drive a stick? Loyalty.

What do you think they value most in you? I would hope the same thing. If you’re my friend, we’re going to be friends for a long, long time.

What’s less important than it used to be? Worrying about what people think or say.

What’s more important now? Living in the moment and enjoying every minute.

What do you do to de-stress? To an extent, I’ve learned to live with an attitude of “stay ready” and “give my all.” If I’m doing that, there’s nothing to be stressed about – that’s the best I can do.

What’s still on your to-do list? I’d like to go to South America, Asia and Australia. I love geography and history. I’d like to see some of the places I’ve read about.

Were geography and history your best subjects in school? They were my favorite.

What was your worst subject? German. And math.

What’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall in Oklahoma City? The Couscous Café on North May, just south of 63rd Street.

Early, late or on time? Late.

What philosophy about life do you truly believe? Do what makes you happy. And I tell my kids to believe in themselves.

What about being an NBA player is not so great? The business side of it. And having no control. You’re told where to be, when to be there and what to do at all times. And the traveling is exhausting.

When they make a movie about your life, who should play you? For me as a kid, I have no clue. For me as a teenager, Chris Brown. After that, well, I gotta have my Denzel.

You’re just coming back from a mid-season calf injury. Does that mean you’ve caught up on all the “Springer” episodes? Noooooo! Working through an injury means even more practices, more weight lifting and more drills.

Do you have any recurring dreams? I dream about basketball every night. I also have a dream where I’m climbing something – it can be anything; a rock wall, a hill, whatever – and I get to the very top and look around when I realize, there’s no way to get down.

What does your post-NBA life look like from here? Right now, I just have some ideas down on paper, but I’d like to be an entrepreneur.

Tell me about your foundation in South Africa. It started about three or four years ago in Mamelodi, South Africa. It’s an after-school program for about 140 kids who can come to a safe place and spend time with a mentor, get homework help and have some snacks.

What lessons has basketball taught you? Respect for other players. Respect for authority. Having a purpose. How to envision being good at something. And humility – that’s big because one day you’re on top. The next, you can be at the bottom.

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

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

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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 »

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

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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 »

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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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