Perkins Staying Busy this Offseason

Once the season is over, NBA veterans typically head home to families or personal trainers to work on their game. At the Thunder, however, players make use of the team’s staff and the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center as much as possible, which is one of the reasons why Kendrick Perkins has been in town over the last few weeks.

Thunder players derive their worth from their work ethic, which is why Perkins, an 11-year veteran who entered the NBA when he was 18 years old, got back into his work-out routine quickly.

“I was excited about this summer, being able to work on my game,” Perkins said.

For a young team like the Thunder, whose core players are still under 25-years old, it is important for rookies and second year players to see long-time veterans take their summers seriously. Watching and learning from the habits of veterans can be extremely influential in how those young players develop their own skills. With last year’s rookies Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones working out tirelessly alongside Reggie Jackson over the last month, having a big brother like Perkins in the gym is beneficial for all parties involved.

“I come in and I motivate them and they motivate me,” Perkins explained. “If you see one guy going hard, that makes you go hard. Maybe if another guy doesn’t feel like coming in and he sees me working hard, he’ll work hard. It’s a give and take.”

When he first joined the team, Lamb said that Perkins was one of the most influential members of the team in terms of helping him understand how the Thunder operates and what was expected of him each day. As a player who won a championship ring with the Boston Celtics playing a similar role to the one he does with the Thunder, Perkins has earned the respect of his teammates, from rookies to fellow veterans like Thabo Sefolosha to leaders like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

“I think it is great to be sitting in the locker room with a guy that has been through the whole process and has a ring and can talk on it,” Sefolosha said. “It is great for us and it is motivation. He is a great guy. He is one of the best teammates I have had. Just the way he carries himself and the way he is with everyone in the organization and the team.”

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Not only has Perkins been busy on the court but he’s also been very active in the community. In addition to his visit to the Thunder Youth Basketball Camp on Wednesday, the Thunder Center has been fundraising to benefit the Oklahoma families who were affected by the tornadoes in May.

Perkins made a video that he sent to a pastor in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, encouraging his former neighbors to lend a helping hand to his current ones. According to the big man, Beaumont’s residents can empathize with those affected by natural disasters. Next week, Perkins will travel to Beaumont to further develop the fundraising plans.

“Coming down from Beaumont, we’ve had a lot of Hurricanes with Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita,” Perkins said. “So we know what it feels like to be affected by things like this. I just wanted to help in any way possible. I know the city of Beaumont supports me a lot, so I just wanted to get them to support Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma.”