Oklahoma City was devastated after the tragic bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.
In response, the citizens of OKC came together to uplift each other. The period since the Murrah bombing has developed a unified community in the state capital, helping each other uplift and once again become the beautiful city Oklahomans love.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti has always loved the tight-knit community that Oklahoma City offers and has tried to emulate the same family ties between his players and fans by connecting new players to the OKC community.
Presti helps players acclimate to Oklahoma City and its citizens in multiple ways, but one stands out a bit more than the others. Every player who passes through OKC receives a guided tour of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum by a museum staff member.
The idea behind the Thunder’s partnership with the Memorial and Museum is to display the culture of determination and courage within OKC; a people who united and rose to become an even greater city than ever in the wake of the tragedy. No one believed in Oklahoma City, but its citizens proved everyone wrong. Presti tries to create the same culture within the organization.
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“We recruit people first and players second,” Presti said, commenting on the importance of character and personality in his franchise players. Part of helping shape the characters of the young men that Presti employs is showing them a key piece of the town’s history.
The Thunder has partnered with the National Memorial and Museum on many occasions. In 2020, OKC’s street edition jerseys were a tribute to the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Members of the OKC team aren’t the only NBA stars to see the museum, either. NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley was so touched by the memorial that he signed a pair of boots to present at the historic site.
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