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Pregame hugs pulling Thunder together

By Darnell Mayberry Modified: December 10, 2008 at 10:42 am •  Published: December 10, 2008
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/articleid/3328994/1/pictures/525527">Photo - Jeff Green, right, and Kyle Weaver show off the latest in pregame celebrations: the hug. Photo BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN
Jeff Green, right, and Kyle Weaver show off the latest in pregame celebrations: the hug. Photo BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN
"Even though it’s something small, that helps.”

The origins of the hug, Durant said, date back to when Desmond Mason delivered a heartfelt speech during a players-only meeting immediately following the team’s 25-point road loss to Philadelphia. Mason scolded his younger teammates for sitting quietly on the bench after good plays.

The bench soon became more animated during runs, and over time the Thunder began expressing the enthusiasm before tip-off.

It started with players giving each other five just prior to the game. Some players added new wrinkles to form a more complex handshake. Then came the hug.

"It’s almost like baseball,” said veteran Joe Smith, who is credited for starting the many oddities and who the starters are last to hug before the game. "You see in baseball dugouts they’ve got all those fives and things like that. It’s almost like that, just something that everybody’s used to doing with each other.”


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