Q&A: Nader Jumping Right in HeadfirstBy Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer | firstname.lastname@example.org
Not long after the trade this offseason that brought him to Oklahoma City, Abdel Nader made a surprise first-place showing in Paul George’s celebrity fishing event. A couple weeks later, the newest Thunder forward was standing on the pitcher’s mound Kauffman Stadium as a part of the Thunder Night at the Kansas City Royals. Neither angling nor baseball are passions of Nader – he’s more of a soccer guy – but the newcomer small forward is doing all he can to jump into this Oklahoma City Thunder experience headfirst.
Photo by Coby Van Loan | OKC Thunder
Egyptian by birth but Chicago-bred, Nader earned First Team All-State honors before heading to Northern Illinois University for two seasons then Iowa State for his junior year. He was selected by the Boston Celtics in the 2nd round of the 2016 NBA Draft, and played one season for the Maine Red Claws, where he became the then-D League Rookie of the Year. In 2017-18, before suffering a wrist injury, Nader played in 48 games for the Celtics, showing an ability to be a versatile defender and scorer along the wing.
In addition to spreading his wings and embracing a new opportunity by throwing out the first pitch at the Royals game, Nader also sat down with okcthunder.com to discuss his chance this season with the Thunder.
On joining the Thunder:Abdel Nader: It’s great. I met a lot of the younger guys mostly, and even Russ, PG, Raymond (Felton). Everybody has been great. It’s a great group of guys. High character guys. I’m just really excited to get to be able to start playing with this team and build chemistry on the court as well as off the court.
On his style of play:AN: I play very hard all the time. I’m very versatile. I can do a lot of things. I can defend multiple positions and play multiple positions on the offensive end. So I can bring a lot of things to the table. I just hope to help us win some games.
On training camp coming up:AN: Just be ready, be in shape - coming off my wrist injury. I broke my arm and my wrist last year, so I’ve been working on, grinding through that. It’s really been a blessing getting traded here to Oklahoma City. I’m ready to get started.
On what he’s most excited for coming to OKC:AN: I think the day after my trade when I came to Oklahoma City, people in the airport already knew. Some people were already coming up to me talking about how I got traded and they were happy for me here. The atmosphere, I only can imagine how good it is here.
On the Thunder giving back to the community:AN: That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. You want to win games, you want to win an NBA championship. You want to do all those things in any sport you play if you do it at a professional level. But it’s all about being a role model and inspiring the youth to follow in your steps or do something better with their lives. I think that’s what it’s all about.
Nick Gallo has been with the Thunder since 2012 and serves as the team’s Digital Content Reporter for okcthunder.com and Sideline Reporter for Fox Sports Oklahoma.