OKC Thunder notebook: Thunder to rebuild outdoor basketball courts in Moore

Briarwood Elementary, Plaza Towers Elementary and Highland East Junior High, all of which were directly hit by the May tornado, will be aided by the initiative.
by Anthony Slater Published: October 13, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) greets fans before the Oklahoma City Thunder's  Blue and White scrimmage at Westmoore High School in Moore, Okla., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) greets fans before the Oklahoma City Thunder's Blue and White scrimmage at Westmoore High School in Moore, Okla., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

The Thunder held its annual blue/white scrimmage at Westmoore High School on Sunday, using the event to once again help lift the spirits of those affected by last May's devastating tornado.

But the organization offered more than just its presence to the Moore citizens, announcing intentions to rebuild the outdoor basketball courts at the sites of three schools destroyed in the tragedy.

“We really strive to be a team of the people,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti told the packed crowd minutes before the scrimmage. “That's why we exist, because of the support that we get. And it runs both ways.”

Briarwood Elementary, Plaza Towers Elementary and Highland East Junior High Schools are the three schools, all of which were directly hit by the storm, to be aided by this initiative.

The Thunder Cares Foundation will fund the rebuilding of these courts, which will be complete with Thunder branding.

“When the community lost these schools, they lost more than a place of learning for their children,” Dan Mahoney, vice president of corporate communications and community relations for the Thunder, said in a press release. "The school facilities, including the basketball courts, served as the heart of these neighborhoods, and we are pleased and proud to be a part of restoring these communities.”

From Kyle Harrison, a Moore native: “The Thunder does a great job with that and did before the tornado. So this isn't really anything out of the ordinary in my eyes for the organization.”

PLAYERS WOW CROWD IN SCRIMMAGE

As the Thunder players strolled onto the Westmoore floor for warm-ups, the gym electrified into a sudden pep rally/rock concert vibe.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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