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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

April 2019

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Celebrate Easter with a trip to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park! On Saturday and Sunday, get $5 off an All-Day Pass with our Eggcellent Easter Special. All-Day Passes include Go-Karts,...

Cost: $23.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
View map »

More information

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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The OSU Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2018-19 season with Schubert's monumental and majestic Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great"). The concert opens with The European Anthem,...

Cost: General Admission: $10; Students & Seniors: $7

Where:
Oklahoma State University Department of Music
132 Seretean Ctr
Stillwater, OK  74078
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma State University Department of Music
Telephone: 405.744.6133
Contact Name: Dr. Thomas Dickey
Website »

More information

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Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Potbelly Sandwich Shop is giving back to the local neighborhood with Feed Your Smile, a fundraiser supporting Concordia Life Care Community.  Show this flyer on your smartphone or...

Cost: Free

Where:
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
8500 N Rockwell Ave
OKC, OK  73132
View map »


Sponsor: Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Telephone: 405-792-5112
Contact Name: Katy Fabrie
Website »

More information

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

"Deliberately silencing the internal chatter and not overthinking. Conscious, but not over-trying. With this approach, things just seem to happen—it’s where all the substance is...

Cost: Free

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.412.2541
Contact Name: David Smith

More information

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A Sporting Chance will host the 25th annual Track and Field Meet at Branson Junior High in Branson, Missouri. A Sporting Chance provides year-round sports and recreation programs designed for those...

Where:
Branson Junior High
263 Buccaneer Boulevard
Branson, MO  65616
View map »


Sponsor: A Sporting Chance
Telephone: 404-314-2188
Contact Name: Hannah Schachinger

More information

Shop over 200 vendors at this indoor event with everything from vintage furniture, retro and mid-century decor to handmade goods, antiques, industrial finds and architectural salvage!

Cost: $5 at the door, 13 and under free

Where:
Heritage Place
2829 S. MacArthur
Oklahoma City, OK  73128
View map »


Sponsor: Junk Hippy
Contact Name: Kristen Grandi
Website »

More information

This one-day festival is rooted in the printing of large-scale woodblocks carved by local Oklahoma artists. We bring in a 5-ton steamroller and print pre-carved blocks throughout the day on Tyvek...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Contact Name: Evan
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Andy Alligator's is celebrating teachers! On Saturday and Sunday, teachers with a valid ID will receive a FREE All-Day Pass and $5 off for each family member! An All-Day Pass includes...

Cost: Teachers receive a FREE All-Day Pass; family members get $5 off

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
View map »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

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


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

Get a sample of the nightlife of Spain at Tulsa Botanic Garden's "Viva La Vida." The Garden is bringing star chef Jamie Bissonnette (Toro restaurants in Boston, NYC, Bangkok and...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

2nd annual gathering of "The Big Lebowksi" fans at The Dude Abides OKC All Oklahoma City Urban Achievers, Abiders and Coen Brothers fans are invited to join us at Fassler Hall OKC and...

Cost: Free, contests have entry fee

Where:
Fassler Hall
421 NW 10th
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Revolve Productions
Telephone: 405.810.6977
Contact Name: Tobi Coleman
Website »

More information

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