At first glance, it was just a day of fun featuring 6-foot-7 Morris Peterson crawling through play tunnels with a smiling 4-year old girl, and his 6-foot-10 Thunder teammate Nick Collison enjoying a birthday cake presented to him by a young fan. There were lots of smiles and laughs on a rainy Friday afternoon at Special Care, a northwest Oklahoma City facility for children with a wide variety of physical and mental needs.

But a closer look shows just how special a day it was for the children and the players.

“I can hardly put into words what it means for these kids to have these players here,” said Pam Newby, executive director of Special Care. “To see big tall Mo or Nick take the hand of a little girl and take her to play on the great big toys, it means the world to these kids and helps them feel special.”

The visit was the idea of the boys' varsity basketball team at Westmoore High School. The team submitted the plan as part of the Thunder Cares program in conjunction with the NBA’s Week of Service. The Westmoore team had visited before and felt it was the perfect opportunity to bring a couple of their NBA friends to enjoy the same experience.

“It makes them feel great,” said Westmoore Head Coach Scott Hodges. “Our guys feel better about helping people than they do basketball. As a coach, that’s what you hope for.”

In addition to spending time with the kids, the Westmoore team and the Thunder left behind some much-needed art supplies for the kids.

“Every child is important,” said Peterson, sweating from his “workout” in the play tunnels. “These kids, just because they are going through something doesn’t mean they can’t have a great life and a great day. It’s about coming in and doing what we can for them and having a great time.”

Also helping to bring smiles to the faces of these kids were members of the Thunder Basketball staff, including General Manager Sam Presti.

“Any opportunity we have to give back to the community, any opportunity to assist, we feel honored and humbled to be able to do that,” Presti said.

“There are a lot of kids here with a lot of obstacles,” Collison added. “If we can somehow make a difference, it’s an unbelievable opportunity for us.”