Thunder Quartet Hosts Fit Clinic

The afternoon’s Fit Clinic session had just come to an end, and Russell Westbrook was just about to leave the basketball court when he stopped to do one last thing.

He took off his wristband and gave it to a child in attendance, then accepted one in return.

The wristband that Westbrook received said “Kickapoo Nation”. The nearly 50 children who participated in Wednesday’s Fit Clinic at the Thunder Events Center represented the Kickapoo Tribe, and were treated to an event that featured a nutrition station, an aerobic fitness station, dribbling drills and shooting drills.

Three Thunder players, Reggie Jackson, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson, joined Westbrook at the clinic, and got into the youthful spirit. The highlight of the day, for sure, was the knockout shooting contest that came down to Westbrook and Roberson, with the latter coming out on top. The kids were cheering on as the whole gym was rapt with attention, including their teammate Jackson.

“It was fun to see them out there, not necessarily as competitive as practice, but still out there competing and having fun and the kids enjoying it,” Jackson said. “I heard them chanting on Russ a little bit, but unfortunately he didn’t come up with the W.”

While Westbrook and Roberson manned the basketball-related stations, Jackson was busy at the exercise section of the court, doing pushups and running laps around the gym. Adams, meanwhile, was the center of attention at the nutrition station, helping the kids learn about proper eating habits, using diagrams and interactive games to make it both informative and enjoyable. Adams, whose large appetite has been noted by teammates, felt right at home discussing the different food groups.

“It’s my area, that’s my comfort zone,” Adams said with a big grin. “It’s extremely important for kids to have fun. You kind of have to make sure they have fun with it and pay attention to it and make sure they take away all the main ideas. For nutrition, it’s the five nutritional groups.”

“He definitely embraced going over to that station, having fun with the kids,” Jackson said.

The students in attendance ranged in age, but were mostly middle schoolers. At that age, exercise and proper nutrition are of the utmost importance, but it was also a great chance for the kids to learn the game of basketball from professionals. The room stood still when the players first arrived and all eyes turned towards them, but within seconds the players were mixing in with the kids to take part in the drills with them.

“It was awesome,” a sixth grader named Shaye said. “I couldn’t really pay attention to what we were doing when they came in. I was just shocked.”

“It was a really good experience, meeting all of the guys,” Dylan, an eighth grader, said. “It was really cool… They were interactive.”

Not only was the event wonderful for the children in attendance, it was obvious that the afternoon was an opportunity for the Thunder quartet to bond. During the question-and-answer session at the end of the proceedings, Westbrook, Jackson, Adams and Roberson each took turns poking fun at one another and letting the kids in on all of the laughs. The players’ camaraderie was palpable, and for an afternoon, a group of young kids got to be included in all those good times.

“It’s just fun to be around these guys anytime outside of the practice facility,” Jackson said. “We get to pick on each other a little… It’s always good to come out here and give back. It puts us right back in our element and makes it easy going.”

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