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OKC National Memorial and Museum Helps Bridge Thunder, OKC Community

The Thunder have developed an outstanding method of helping incorporate its players into the OKC community.

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 time period following the Murrah Bombing developed a unified community in the state’s capitol, helping each other rise and grow back into the beautiful city that Oklahomans love.

Thunder General Manager Sam Presti has always been fond of the tight-knit community that Oklahoma City offers, and has tried to emulate the same familial bonds between his players and the fans by connecting new players with the OKC community.

Presti helps players get acclimated to Oklahoma City and its citizens in a multitude of ways, but one sticks out a little more than the rest. Every player to come 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 grit within OKC; a people who unified and rose to become an even greater city than ever before out of the tragedy. No one believed in Oklahoma City, but its citizens proved everyone wrong. Presti is trying to create the same culture within the organization.

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“We draft people first and players second,” Presti once said, commenting on the importance of character and personality in his franchise players. Part of helping shape the characters’ of the young men Presti employs is showing them a key piece of the city's history.

The Thunder have partnered with the National Memorial and Museum on numerous occasions. In 2020, OKC’s city edition jerseys were a tribute to the victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing.

OKC team members 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 to the historic site. 


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