Thunder Duo Helps School Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When Thabo Sefolosha and Steven Adams ducked their heads through the classroom door on MLK Day, they were greeted with the smiles and hearts of children who will one day shape this city and country’s future in ways large and small.

The positive changes made in the United States due to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are still felt today, and on Monday as the country honored the man’s legacy, so did Sefolosha, Adams and 30 children at Rising High Christian Academy.

The pre-k through fourth grade children in north Oklahoma City attend school on a year-round schedule, so class was in session on Monday but held to a special schedule that remembered Dr. King’s life and work. The Thunder duo read the children’s book Martin’s Big Words to the class, which told Dr. King’s story, his beliefs and how it related to the larger civil rights movement. After reading the book, Sefolosha and Adams helped each child color a photo of Dr. King, getting a chance to connect with the children on a personal level.

“It’s been a fun day spending time with the kids and doing a little arts and crafts as well,” Sefolosha said. “It’s an honor to be able to speak to those kids and take the time to read a book with them about a great figure in American history. It’s something that makes me feel good and is great for those kids.”

At the end of the day, the group assembled outside to say a prayer to honor Dr. King and then set free a number of balloons as a fun gesture to commemorate his contributions to American society.

Thanks to school Principal Lashonda Williams’ leadership, Monday’s activities at the school were centered around celebrating Dr. King’s life and message, so when Sefolosha and Adams joined in and reinforced those lessons, it was a special treat. The visit was not only a surprise to the students, but also an educational boost.

“It was so amazing because the kids talk about basketball and they talk about players, but they’ve never actually met them up close,” Williams said. “To hear them talk about the same things that we’re talking about at school, it makes it whole.”

“I really want (the students) to know that he was a man of peace,” Williams explained. “We really wanted them to know that we’re not just saying this, but we have people that live that every day and he was the pioneer for us.”

Not only was Monday’s event an opportunity for Sefolosha and Adams to help 30 children of America’s next generation of leaders learn about a critical member of this country’s past, it was also a chance for the duo to further educate themselves. Both Sefolosha and Adams were born and lived in foreign countries before coming to the United States for their basketball careers, so Monday’s curriculum was informational to both players.

“It was an honor just to be here to read to the kids and give them a little insight on the upcoming Black History Month,” Adams said.

“Now I have a little insight on it too,” Adams continued. “(Dr. King) fought with words and that he adopted what Mahatma Gandhi did as well. He went along with that and it seems like he was such a great guy.”