I know you guys think I forgot Russ. But I could speak all night about Russell. An emotional guy who will run through a wall for me. I don’t take it for granted. There’s days when I just want to tackle you and tell you to snap out of it sometimes, but I know there’s days when you want to do the same thing with me. I love you, man. I love you. A lot of people put unfair criticism on you as a player and I’m the first to have your back, man, though it all. Just stay the person you are. Everybody loves you here. I love you. I thank you so much, man. You make me better. You know, your work ethic, I always want to compete with you. I always want to pull up in the parking lot of the arena, or the practice facility, and if you beat me there I was always upset. I always wanted to outwork you. You set the bar. You set the tone. Thank you so much, man. Thank you. You have a big piece of this. You’re an MVP-caliber player. It’s a blessing to play with you, man.
Thank all you guys, I know we have a bigger goal in mind. We have a tough game tomorrow, but this means the world to me that you guys are here with me celebrating with me. Thank you. Thank you. I can’t express it enough.
I’m sorry. I’m almost done. Give me a couple more minutes.
Thank you to the organization for drafting me and believing in me from the beginning that I can be an MVP player.
Mr. Bennett, just giving me this opportunity. I thank you for always being there when I need you. Every time I see you under the basket for a game, I feel confident. No matter how the game is going, I look at you and I can tell, “If our owner is behind us, we can do it all.” I thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.
Sam Presti, thank you, sir. Your texts late night after a good game, after a bad game. I appreciate those. From the beginning, your support means a lot to me. I thank you for putting together such a great team and doing so much for us. Our community is blessed to have you. Our franchise is blessed to have you. Thank you.
Troy Weaver. Somebody I’ve known for such a long time. God directed our paths to work together and it’s been everything and more, man. Our relationship has grown day by day and I thank you for believing me and for always being on top of me and just keeping it real with me no matter what, always supporting my family. I thank you, man. Words can’t express how much you mean to me. Such a great man to your family, to this team, to this community. We all appreciate you.
To all the staff, I can’t name all you guys. All the staff members that take care of us every single day from Donnie Strack, Joe Sharpe, Tony (Katzenmeier), Dave Bliss, Josh Longstaff, Will (Dawkins), Wilson (Taylor), (Mark St. Yves), Dwight (Daub). I could go down the line. All you guys have made me a better player. I wish I had a Sharpie so I could write all your names on here because you had a hand on this. You made me believe in myself. You made me a better person, a better player. Your words of encouragement, your love, your positivity got me through. And I thank you guys.
Coaching staff, I know there’s days when you want to look at that film and kill me for not playing defense, for taking bad shots, getting too many techs. But you always believe that I can be the guy. Through the tough times, you guys never left my side. Always wanted to help me get better. Always wanted to push me to new limits. Always work with me. Took time out of your summers to come work with me. Took time out of your nights to come work with me. And it’s something I really appreciate. I never want to take you guys for granted. I thank you so much for being a part of my life, not just on the basketball court, but giving me talks about growing as a man first and a basketball player next. I thank you so much.
Scott Brooks, you mean the world to me. I love you. You as a man. I never met anybody like you, so selfless. You don’t take the credit for nothing, even though you deserve all of it. I love you and your family for always taking me in, believing me, texting me late at night when I was going crazy. Thank you. Thank you.
Beautiful fans of Oklahoma City, I can’t say enough about you guys. All the support you give our team. The home-court advantage we have is the best I’ve ever seen. We disappoint you sometimes, but we try our best every single night to win for you guys. And we want to win a championship for you guys. This city, all they want us to be is ourselves. You love us how we are. We’re all a work in progress as men and you still love us and I thank you so much for embracing us.
Last but not least my family. My brother Tony, I love you. Thank you for beating me up when I was a kid. I always wanted to follow in your footsteps. I pray for you every night. You’ve taught me to feel confident in myself, believe in myself that I can do it when I didn’t think I could do it.
Dad, it’s been an up-and-down road for all of us, but you’ve always been there supporting from afar, texting me Bible verses every single day, telling me you love me every single day. That builds me up and I thank you so much. I love you. I’m just glad you’re part of this journey with us.
My little brother Rayvonne, you always followed after my footsteps. I always want to set a good example for you, man. Thank you for all the support. I love you.
All my friends, Cliff (Dixon), Charlie (Bell), Vernon (Dixon), Tay (Young), Randy (Williams), Ryan (Lopez). You keep me sane every single day. There’s days where I come home upset from a game or practice and you just brighten my day up. I thank you guys. You mean the world to me. I wouldn’t be here without all you guys. This our trophy, too. I appreciate it. Thank you.
All the support from all my family, all my friends, over the years I appreciate it. My grandma couldn’t be here. I know she’s watching. She’s going to text me as soon as I get off the stage. Thank you so much for picking me up from school when I was a kid, fixing me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day, texting me after every single game, telling me I need to stop getting techs and loving me unconditionally.
And last, my mom. I don’t think you know what you did. You had my brother when you were 18 years old. Three years later, I came out. The odds were stacked against us. Single parent with two boys by the time you were 21 years old. Everybody told us we weren’t supposed to be here. We went from apartment to apartment by ourselves. One of the best memories I had was when we moved into our first apartment, no bed, no furniture and we just sat in the living room and just hugged each other. We thought we made it.
When something good happens to you, I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to look back to what brought me here. You wake me up in the middle of the night in the summer times, making me run up a hill, making me do pushups, screaming at me from the sidelines of my games at 8 or 9 years old. We wasn’t supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street. You put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You the real MVP.
Last, I’d just like to thank God again. You’re the first and the last, alpha and omega. I thank you for saving my life.
I appreciate everybody. Thanks to all the writers for voting for me.