OKC Thunder: Royal Ivey available to play in Houston

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: January 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm •  Published: January 16, 2014

Affectionately referred to as "Smoke" by teammates, Ivey was a locker room leader and friend during his time in Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant considers Ivey his best friend in the league.

"We're all happy," Durant said. "He was a big part of our championship run when we went to the Finals a few years ago. Just his presence in the locker room, his leadership, his veteran leadership, he did so much for Reggie (Jackson) and myself. He's ben a big brother to me since I was 17 years old. Just to have him back feels good. Just to see him back in the league, I'm happy for him."

Ivey said he wants to help anyway he can, whether it's motivating teammates, encouraging them or pushing them.

"One of the things that we all love about him," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, "he's always been a player that's committed to winning, whether he plays a minute or whether he plays 30 minutes. He's not playing 30 minutes. But he's a great guy. He's loved by all of his teammates. You're never going to hear a bad thing said about him. And you win with guys that have that fiber of winning and doing whatever it takes to win. And he's always been that type of player. He's a great teammate. You're not going to find a better one."

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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