Trio of Thunder Players Teach Hoops at Thunder Fit

In the midst of the intensity that is Thunder Training Camp, teammates Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha and Elijah Milsap clearly relished being able to take on the role of basketball instructors.

Sefolosha stood in the gymnasium of Roosevelt Middle School in south Oklahoma City, showing a group of students the proper way to dribble a basketball. “Bend your knees,” the 6-foot-7 guard told them. “And if you take more than two steps without dribbling, there’s a problem.”

The Thunder players were taking part in Thunder Fit clinic. The Oct. 15 clinic was part of the Thunder’s ongoing commitment to improving the lives of children by urging them to be more active and develop healthy habits.

About 60 Roosevelt students rotated through four stations in the concrete and red brick gym: basketball drills, strength training, cardio drills and nutrition information. While most of the kids enjoyed the regimen – sit-ups, lifting weights and learning just how sugary that sugary drink really is – the main attractions were the three really tall guys at the west end of the court.

The players smiled, high-fived the students and offered words of encouragement. Westbrook demonstrated how to dribble a “figure 8” pattern. “You don’t have to be fast,” he told the kids. “Take your time.” Later, a sixth-grade girl barely missed a layup. “Oh! So close!” the Thunder point guard shouted with a clap of the hands.

“It’s a great experience,” Westbrook said during a break in the action. “It’s great to have a good time with the kids and be able to show them things that I have learned.”

Once the hour-long clinic came to a close, the kids gathered in front of the players for a Q & A session. The questions varied from favorite foods (Sefolosha said he prefers apples and bananas) to the most important part of exercise (stretching, said Milsap).

The final question: Do you ever get nervous before a big game?

All three players smiled. Their consensus answer: “Always.”