Back in 2005, when Reggie Jackson was 14, his father got him tickets to All-Star weekend in Denver.
“But I didn't really care,” Jackson said. “Because unless I'm at that level playing basketball, it's not really in my mind. NBA was just a dream then.”
But it's not anymore. And now Jackson, in his first full season in an NBA rotation, will make a return trip to All-Star weekend, this time as a participant.
Jackson will be part of the Saturday night festivities, competing in the Skills Challenge.
“I wasn't too concerned about it. My dad must have bought tickets because he thought it would be fun for me, but I didn't pay attention too much.
“It's an honor to represent our team and participate in the Skills Challenge.”
Thunder teammate Kevin Durant said, “It's something he can definitely win and bring back to OKC.”
Jackson and his brother will both attend the event and stay all weekend.
“Got to,” Jackson said. “Kevin is in the big event and Paul George, we became close. So I have two guys I have to watch out for. Especially battling each other West and East. It'll be fun.”
STEVEN ADAMS UNSURE IF HE'LL PLAY FOR NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL TEAM THIS SUMMER
With Steven Adams' popularity back home at an all-time high, there's already buzz in New Zealand about his potential inclusion on the country's national team this summer.
But at this point, with the World Championships not until September, Adams remains undecided on if he'll compete.
“I'm just focusing on the NBA,” Adams said. “What is it, in September? I'm just going to make a decision then. Well actually not me, it's me and the Thunder. We're trying to work together now, trying to see right now.”
In the recently released bracket for the FIBA Tournament in Spain, New Zealand is matched up in Pool C with the United States, among four others. Durant and Russell Westbrook are expected to be on the American team.
“Obviously we've got high hopes of Steven wanting to play for his country, but I think at the end of the day its going to come down to how badly he wants to play,” New Zealand assistant coach Paul Henare told TVNZ.co.nz.
THUNDER EXTENDS BLACK HISTORY HEROES CHALLENGE DEADLINE TO FEB. 12
The Thunder is calling for students to take part in its sixth annual Black History Heroes Challenge, in which the deadline for submissions has been extended to Feb. 12.
Oklahoma students in kindergarten-12th grade can enter the contest by submitting an essay or visual arts piece portraying an outstanding individual in black history or an impactful African-American in their life.
Winners in each of five age groups will receive a Thunder prize pack, including four tickets to the Thunder vs. Cleveland Cavaliers home game on Feb. 26, recognition at center court before the game, an autographed Thunder item and an award plaque. Select entries will be displayed on the concourse at Chesapeake Energy Arena during the Feb. 26 game.
Previous winners have included entries such as: a collage about one student's grandfather, who was a firefighter; a portrait and essay about Martin Luther King Jr.; an essay about a coach who influenced one student's life; and a visual arts piece describing a musician who served as a mentor to one student.
All entries must be hand-delivered or postmarked by 5 p.m. Feb. 12. For more information, including an entry form, visit thunder.nba.com.
Coach Scott Brooks when asked about Durant's recent offensive tear: “He's been on an offensive tear, really, for seven years.”
The Thunder returns home for a Sunday game against the Knicks. Tip is at noon on ABC.