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OKC Thunder: Despite ongoing violence in Turkey, Thunder will make trip to Istanbul

Concerns over the safety of players, coaches and team and league personnel raised questions recently about whether the first leg of the Thunder's two-game European tour would be canceled.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: September 29, 2013

Istanbul to the Syrian capital of Damascus is approximately the distance between Oklahoma City and Denver. Such proximity to a nation in civil war could pose a threat to a high-profile group of Americans traveling in that vicinity.

Tensions in the Middle East have cooled in recent days, however, with diplomacy replacing drawn out chatter of dire consequences that could have included U.S. attacks on Syria because of the country's usage of chemical weapons.

Still, with many Thunder players scheduled for promotional appearances and community events before and after Saturday's game against Turkish club Fenerbahce Ulker, safety remains a high priority.

“We're all grown men,” Durant said. “We know when there's trouble and when there's not. We all got to stick together and help each other out in that area. The NBA's done a great job with everything in making sure we're well-secured. So we'll be fine.”

After completing all postgame obligations, the Thunder is scheduled to leave Istanbul for Manchester, England. There, the Thunder will play its second preseason game against Philadelphia on Oct. 8.

“We're going to follow through with the security protocol,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “But I know (the NBA) has our interest at hand. It's not something at this point I'm worried about. I'm just worried about getting there and being able to handle the time change and be able to function the next day.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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