NORMAN — Zac Selmon joked that over the past week, Taylor Griffin might have discovered his post-basketball career.
“I told Taylor that whenever he gets done with basketball, he's got an event planning career ahead of him,” said Selmon, the Sooner Club's associate director development. “Taylor's been on this for the past week, 24 hours a day.”
Thursday at Lloyd Noble Center, former OU basketball standouts Blake and Taylor Griffin hosted “Smile Moore,” a fun event for children affected by last week's devastating tornadoes in Moore.
There were inflatable games — including a slide and a bounce house — and other carnival activities in the women's basketball practice gym, and the men's practice gym was for kids who just wanted to shoot hoops.
The Griffins said Thursday's event would kick off their charitable drive effort, in which they hope to raise money to help rebuild Moore schools, parks and gymnasiums destroyed last week.
“We didn't want to do it through my foundation,” said Blake Griffin, a three-time NBA All-Star with the Los Angeles Clippers. “We wanted to create this specifically for the city of Moore so everybody knows if you give money to this, it's gonna go to schools, parks, to whatever people need.”
Taylor Griffin — Blake's older brother and former teammate both at OU and Oklahoma Christian School — said Selmon came up with the idea and contacted the Griffin brothers, both of whom live in California.
“I loved the idea as soon as I heard it,” Taylor Griffin said. “The hardest thing about it was trying to get it planned with a week's notice. But it came together so well.
“Moore is right in between our hometown and where I spent four years in college. We're very familiar with that area, even though we never lived in Moore. It was unreal to see the damage.”
Selmon said they expected to host between 500 and 1,000 children Thursday. Planning the event on short notice was tough enough, but the Griffins also wanted to make sure to get the word out to specifically those affected.
“We took fliers to shelters, and we have a lot of the teachers from Moore elementary schools here volunteering, so they got the word out to their students as well,” said Taylor Griffin, who spent last year in the NBA Development League and is still working to get back to the NBA.
“A lot of it wasn't your traditional put it on Twitter. A lot of it was word-of-mouth and trying to get it to the right people.”
Around the time Thursday's event was set to begin, Norman tornado sirens went off and everyone was escorted down the Lloyd Noble Center's south tunnel to prepare for more possible nasty weather. But after a short time, the storm passed and the event proceeded as planned.
Selmon said the main goal was to “convey love and hope” to the kids who were affected.
“It's OK to laugh and have a good time and smile, because we know Oklahoma's gonna rebuild,” Selmon said. “We wanted to let kids have an escape to come and have fun.”