Ask Andrew Rains who his favorite Thunder player is and he'll tell you Kendrick Perkins. “I guess because he looks intimidating,” Rains explained. Ask him his favorite play on television and Rains will tell you, “Watching Kevin Durant dunk the ball.”
Keep in mind, Rains shared all this while proudly wearing a Russell Westbrook jersey.
Suffice to say, every Thunder player appears to be Rains' favorite. Not just from this season, but from every year since 2008 A.S. — After Seattle.
In the team's five-plus seasons in OKC, not once had Rains missed a Thunder game on television, at least not until he attended his first-ever game Sunday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena and watched the Thunder post a 119-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Every season, there are stories about Thunder fans who tug at your emotions. On this night, Rains tugged at mine.
Rains suffers from cerebral palsy, a disorder that can range from slight to severe. “Yeah, but I got the slight one,” Rains said, punctuating his self-diagnoses with a smile and a laugh from his wheelchair.
You might have previously seen Rains pictured in The Oklahoman at age 12, winning yet another medal in the Special Olympics.
His career medal count? “Over 40,” Rains said with another laugh.
Rains will turn 24 years old next week and proudly boasts he and Westbrook were both born in November 1988.
Rains attended as the guest of a Thunder employee who was kind enough to surrender his season tickets for the night. Rains was joined by his grandmother, Roberta, his tutor, Suzanne Parker, and Parker's daughter, Angela.
Suzanne Parker is a retired teacher who became Rains' tutor last June as part of the adult literacy program at Southern Oak Library.
The Thunder so engulfs Rains' life, the team indirectly improves his reading and speaking skills.
Parker clips out Oklahoman stories on the Thunder and has Rains read them to her. “Lots of times, he'll dictate Thunder stories to me,” Parker said.
In Monday's edition, Rains will read and speak of himself, and you can bet good money he'll do so with a grin.
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