Durant Spends Afternoon with Chickasaw Nation Youth

It’s special to see how closely connected Thunder players like Kevin Durant are with the Oklahoma City community, and that bond couldn’t have been more apparent than on Thursday afternoon at the Thunder Community Events Center. Durant, who seems to have the pulse of the Oklahoma area, took the time out of his afternoon to put on a basketball clinic in conjunction with Nike and the Thunder for youth from the Chickasaw Nation.

“(The Chickasaw Nation) is so heavy here in the community,” Durant said. “Nike always comes up with bright ideas and being in Oklahoma City, there are so many Native Americans out here, I want to do my best to recognize them.”

There are over 50,000 members of the Chickasaw nation, a sovereign tribe located in South Central Oklahoma but spread out throughout the United States, from San Diego to Maine. The youths represented at the clinic on Thursday afternoon came from communities like Ada, Ardmore, Kingston and Davis, among many other areas throughout Oklahoma. Jay Keel, the Administrator of the Division of Youth and Family Services for the Chickasaw Nation, was extremely happy to be able to see the children enjoy their afternoon learning about basketball from Durant.

“Today, we were asked by Nike and by the Thunder and Kevin Durant to come and participate in a clinic, just a personal touch on Kevin’s part for Chickasaw youth,” Keel said. “It’s hard to estimate how important this kind of experience this is for young people.”

Nike’s N7 campaign, which has introduced a new line of Kevin Durant basketball shoes, helped put on the event that featured four different drills that the children ran through during the afternoon. Durant wore the new line of shoes during the Thunder’s home game at Chesapeake Energy Arena against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

Durant and the children were decked out in N7 gear while Durant guided them through dribbling, passing, defensive and shooting drills. After the clinic ended, Durant gave a brief speech with words of encouragement to the kids in attendance, letting them know that through hard work and the right attitude, they can go far in life.

“For me it’s just always (using) my footprint and showing them that these guys can be involved in anything they want to be involved in,” Durant said. “Just being here with these guys, I just want to let them know that anything is possible… I’m happy I could be out here. Basketball is my favorite thing to do and being an NBA player, coming to help kids play basketball is something that is always fun.”

Durant said that being so attached to Oklahoma City and the surrounding area made him want to take the time to recognize some of the community’s most valued members, and in return he saw the excitement and passion for basketball that some of the children from the Chickasaw Nation have. Through basketball, Durant believes he has a platform to help others and make an impact in the community, and needless to say Keel and the children were touched by the attention Durant gave all afternoon.

“We just want to say thank you to the Thunder and to Nike and Chickasaw Nation supports the Thunder in as many ways as we can,” Keel said. “So we’re proud to be associated with this day and with the Thunder in general, so thank you to everyone that made this possible.”