Catching Up with Thabo Sefolosha

When Thunder players get free time in the offseason, many of them find off-the-court projects that are personally important to them.

For Thabo Sefolosha, giving back and growing the game of basketball has been a passion. For the second straight summer, Sefolosha hosted a basketball camp in Oklahoma City to help young kids learn the game and hopefully find a love for it. Over 100 boys and girls aged 10-17 filled up Edmond Santa Fe High School’s two gymnasiums last Saturday as Sefolosha brought in coaches from throughout the area to give maximum individual attention to each camper.

Sefolosha proceeded to hop from station to station, helping where he saw fit and encouraging the children to hone their fundamentals. He even brought along a special surprise coach to join the proceedings, as rookie Thunder center Steven Adams stopped by to make an appearance.

Ensuring that no one was left out, Sefolosha hosted students with special needs and many of the campers came from schools impacted by the May tornadoes. In addition, Sefolosha ensured that even those who weren’t in attendance could benefit; proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity.

For Sefolosha, who is entering his fifth full season with the Thunder, the Oklahoma City community has been an integral part of his entire experience with the organization. As a result, the eighth-year man tries to give back to Thunder fans as much as possible.

“For all they do for us throughout the year and the way they have embraced the team and everything, to do something like this and to be able to give back to a good cause, it’s great,” Sefolosha said.

“We’re helping families for Habitat for Humanity, families that lost everything in the tornadoes, so I think it’s a great cause,” Sefolosha explained. “It’s something that is dear to me and I’m happy to be able to help.”

Oklahoma City isn’t the only place where Sefolosha has been giving back this offseason. For the fourth straight summer, the Swiss native supported the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, which was hosted for the 11th straight year this past August to benefit communities and young basketball players throughout Africa.

The 29-year old guard was also joined by Thunder teammates Serge Ibaka and Hasheem Thabeet at the camp, as all three helped with basketball drills in addition to community projects. Sefolosha, whose father is South African, holds a place in his heart for kids growing up in Africa and hopes that through the program and the NBA’s many efforts the game of basketball can continue growing in the region.

“For me, being able to give back to that community and go back there, it’s something that I really enjoy doing,” Sefolosha said.

“I think it’s really going in the right direction,” Sefolosha continued. “It’s making a positive impact.”

The closeness of the Thunder locker room is something the organization is proud of, which is why it has been great to see teammates supporting one another’s philanthropic endeavors this summer. As the team bonds this fall, building camaraderie and cohesion, there will be even more opportunities for teammates to spend time together.

Just around the corner will be the start of training camp on September 27th, and less than a week later the team will travel to Istanbul and Manchester for two international preseason games. The week-long trip will be an exciting way for the entire organization to gel as it heads into the 2013-14 season.

“I’m looking forward to the trip in Europe,” Sefolosha said. “I think that’s going to be big for us spending time together and having some good interactions with our teammates.”