Westbrook Hosts Bowling Night for Boys & Girls Club

As they stood and looked at their scores on the video screen, the young kids and professional basketball players were nearly indistinguishable.

With a complete sense of child-like fun and exuberance, the entire Thunder team joined Russell Westbrook and kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County at a bowling alley in Edmond on Monday night. Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation hosted the event to bring a night of excitement and joy to a group very close to his heart. Growing up in inner city Los Angeles, Westbrook himself was a Boys & Girls Club member in his youth, making the organization extra important now that he’s in the NBA.

“It’s very important,” Westbrook said. “There are a lot of different kids coming in and out of the Boys & Girls club each and every day. I’m just trying to find out where I can help and give back.”

This isn’t the first time Westbrook has teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County since he’s been a member of the Thunder. Last November, Westbrook hosted a Thanksgiving dinner at the Boys & Girls Club and he’s facilitated a number of other events with the organization over the past year. Linda Mares, the Director of Development at the Boys & Girls Club, has been a major part of each of Westbrook’s event, and on Monday was enthusiastic about how her organization’s relationship with Westbrook has evolved.

“We’re very flattered to have Russell be a part of our organization and want to help the Boys & Girls Club,” Mares said. “He understands what a lot of our kids are going through. They feel like they can relate a lot more to him… To offer scholarships for them be able to go to college, something that a lot of times they’d never even thought of before, is so great.”

Part of Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation’s biggest efforts revolve around a scholarship fund set up to help underprivileged children with college educations. Every Thunder player can understand the importance of an education because in some way, shape or form, their NBA careers were facilitated by their ability to do well in the classroom. That’s why Westbrook’s teammates, from Kevin Durant to Jeremy Lamb, showed up in full force to support a great cause.

“If you know that you can make someone smile or help somebody in life, it’s a great feeling,” Lamb said. “I like events like these because you can be comfortable, you can be yourself, have fun and interact with fans as well as your teammates.”

For how tight knit the Thunder locker room is, along with the organization for that matter, it wasn’t surprising for the whole team to show up to support a teammate’s event. That presence, along with Governor Mary Fallin’s, turned Westbrook and the Club kids’ bowling trip into an exciting affair. As the children hopped around from lane to lane talking to each of the Thunder players, they had the chance to glimpse the guys in their natural element.

“To see all of the guys here, it’s really exciting,” Mares said. “Our kids are here and they’re kind of in awe… The players are all so friendly with them and just get along with everyone. It’s really great to see not only the players but all of the people who have come out to support and believe in Russell and the Thunder and what we do as well.”

Even on an off day, when the Thunder as a squad had the opportunity to catch up on sleep, rest and time with their families, each of the players made a point to make a quality showing with the youth of Oklahoma City. Ever since the organization arrived in Oklahoma five years ago, the Thunder has been welcomed with open arms, making it even more special for Westbrook and his teammates to give back.

“It’s great,” Westbrook said. “The fans show us so much support throughout the years I’ve been here. It’s also great to do things like this with kids and different families to come out and bowl with us.”