Thunder Players Get Fit with Oklahoma National Guard

Oklahoma National Guard Specialist Krista Lynn’s two most memorable moments thus far in life have been the birth of her son and competing in the Soldier of the Year Warrior Challenge at Camp Gruber this past fall. Being able to serve her state and country has been a blessing, and on Sunday the National Guard and the Thunder ensured that she’d receive another great memory.

Thunder players Serge Ibaka, Jeremy Lamb, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson stopped by Midwest City High School to take part in a FIT Clinic, sponsored by Homeland, to work out and teach basketball to a group of 70 soldiers and airmen from the Army and Air National Guard. Lamb participated in a FIT Clinic on Friday along with Perry Jones and Reggie Jackson for children at Western Heights Middle School on Friday, but Sunday's event was extra special because the Thunder players got to work with men and women who work hard to defend the state and country. Ibaka got down to do pushups with Lynn, and the quartet showed their personalities by engaging the crowd throughout the day and in a question-and-answer session.

“They take care of you here in Oklahoma, and that’s all you can ask for,” Lynn said.

“They’re normal people just like us,” Lynn explained. “It’s very reassuring knowing that they’re not just NBA players that don’t care. They do care and it’s very comforting.”

There were two fitness stations with cardio and aerobic exercises, along with two basketball stations where the Thunder players flocked to teach the basics of dribbling and shooting. Those moments gave Thunder players an opportunity to chat with National Guard members. Sergeant Jesse Honick, who knocked down a number of shots and even tried to throw down a dunk, had the chance to chat with Adams about his experience thus far in Oklahoma.

“I like to work out, so this is just really cool to be able to come here and see the guys and to be able to hang out with them and be able to work out with them,” Honick explained.

The experience wasn’t just exciting for the members of the National Guard, but it was also rewarding for the players, who have major respect for the effort and time the men and women they met with put into their work.

Ibaka connected with the crowd by saying that if he hadn’t been able to play professional basketball, he likely would have been a soldier in his home country of the Congo. After the event was over, Lamb, Roberson, Adams and Ibaka all stayed in the gym to learn more about the guardsmen and what their jobs entail.

“They go out and put their lives on the line to make sure that we’re safe, so anything we can do to show our appreciation is always a huge thing,” Adams said.

“They support us and we support them,” Roberson said. “They sacrifice than what we’re doing. They protect this country, not just us but the community and whole world basically. I tip my hat to these guys who work hard and bust their butts every day.”

Rewarding was the perfect word to describe the feeling as the players and soldiers left Midwest City High School after their workout. Both organizations value their Oklahoma City community and giving back to the people who make it so special. At their core, as Colonel Max Moss explained, both organizations hope to be pillars in the state for citizens to feel a connection with. Connecting on Sunday afternoon was an opportunity to extend mutual respect and further strengthen ties between two organizations who care deeply about those who support them.

“Part of our normal lifestyle is to be actively engaged in the community,” Moss said. “To get to share today’s experience with the Thunder players is meaningful and unique because we’re both very involved in our community.”