Hoops for Troops: Thunder Players Get Fit with Active Service Men and Women

Paris Lawson

By Paris Lawson | Digital Content Reporter | mailbag@okcthunder.com

A long whistle hissed throughout the whole gym. Everyone dropped to the ground to do five pushups, including Thunder players Mike Muscala and Hamidou Diallo. The reason – nobody should go through adversity alone.

  Muscala and Diallo lead drills and participated in the Thunder’s Hoops for Troops fit clinic on Friday with a group of active service men and women from Vance Airforce Base in Enid, Oklahoma. The group travelled to Oklahoma City to put some fun into their routine fitness regimens while also building team comradery and cohesiveness. The day began with warmups that included defensive slides, high knees and running close outs. From there the group broke off into four stations. Three stations were basketball drills and one focused on nutrition.

  “The energy definitely went up when they came in,” said Lorraine Reimer, Community Cohesion Coordinator at Vance Airforce Base. “I think that we see people on TV so much and they maybe feel unreachable and to see that they’re people and they sweat like us and they may miss a shot every once in a while, they have fun and they love what they’re doing, I think that was really good for everybody to see.”

Muscala and Diallo helped lead the basketball stations making passes into layups and offering their encouragement on good plays. Every now and then, the whistle would interrupt play and the entire gym would have to do five pushups together. After stations, the group had a change to ask Muscala and Diallo questions about life in the NBA and taking care of their bodies. One member of the group asked a question that nobody anticipated: “Will you dunk on me?” Initially taken aback, Muscala acquiesced the strange request and made his way to the floor.

  “I was happy to help since he wanted it to happen,” Muscala said with a chuckle.

  Muscala dribbled in from outside the arc, gathered off two feet and easily elevated over the airman with no issue. Cheers rang from the group.

  “It was just humbling to be here and to be around them, the men and women serving and protecting our country. I just felt honored to be a part of the Thunder to represent them and be here with Hami and everybody else leading the drills. It was fun. A fun time to be active,” Muscala said.

  “It’s great. For those guys and women for what they go out and do each and every day for this country is big and for us to take that off their mind for a couple of hours is just a blessing for us,” Diallo said.

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