Thunder Doubles Up on Holiday Assist Events on Tuesday

By Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer | mailbag@thunder-nba.com

Even in the midst of the busy NBA season, Thunder players take a moment to pause at Thanksgiving and recognize the importance of giving back.

At two different locations on Tuesday, Thunder players made it a point to donate their time and attention to people in the community. As a part of the organization’s seventh-annual Holiday Assist program, presented by Cox, Thunder forward Nick Collison went to a Homeland location to take them on a shopping spree for Thanksgiving food.

The Primeaux family just lost their father at the beginning of the school year, so mom Vicki and her five children have been battling together to get through some tough times. Collison took the family through the grocery store as they efficiently picked out all of the items they needed for their Thanksgiving dinner and to feed the family for a while. Collison seems to particularly enjoy this event because of the personal interaction that takes place with the family.

“I really enjoy this one,” Collison said. “It’s a great thing that Homeland does to give gift cards to families. I know how hard it is for families to make ends meet sometimes.”

“It’s more of a one-on-one thing and you get to spend some time with the family,” Collison explained. “They seem like great kids with a hardworking mother. They all just want to help out.”

The Primeaux family was anxious heading into the event, but Collison’s easygoing and calming nature quickly turned that feeling into excitement. Although the Thanksgiving holiday will be a difficult one for the family, still grieving from their loss, there were only smiles on their faces after the event ended. Visions of hosting family and friends for Thanksgiving were enough to turn what might have been a sad day into a holiday with some normalcy.

“I just can’t believe this opportunity to have something like this for us,” Primeaux said.  

Meanwhile, in downtown Oklahoma City, Thunder players Perry Jones and Andre Roberson stopped by Fifth Street Baptist Church to help hand out turkeys and other Thanksgiving food items to people in need from the local community. Those receiving the generosity of Homeland and the church were surprised by Jones and Roberson’s appearance, which made the event that much more special.

Despite being professional athletes now, both Jones and Roberson can relate to being in a position of needing a little bit of help to get by, which is why both were inspired to come out and give back.

“Not everybody is in as blessed and fortunate of a position as we are,” Roberson said. “It’s just good to give back. I was in these shoes back in the day. I know how it feels and it feels great to give.”

“It’s something that I didn’t have for me when I was younger,” Jones said. “I wanted to come out here and give back. I’m fortunate that I’m able to do it.”

The attitudes of the three Thunder players out in the community on Tuesday is a manifestation of the Thunder’s philosophy about its role in Oklahoma City. As an organization in Oklahoma standing alongside citizens in the area, it is both the Thunder’s duty and its joy to be able to enrich the lives of those who support the team day-in and day-out.

Perhaps the outlook was best described by Fifth Street Baptist Church’s A. Byron Coleman III, who stood across the room with a wide grin as people hugged and met with Roberson and Jones.

“Our responsibility as citizens is to serve the community, to help people, to empower people and to lift people,” Coleman explained. “Those of us who have been blessed have a responsibility to be a blessing for other people.” 

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