Thunder Strikes at RedPin Bowling Lounge

Jeff Green and James Harden walked through the doors at RedPin Bowling Lounge at 7 o’clock on Friday and made a beeline for Lane 5.

With Serge Ibaka already there, the Thunder trio shared two lanes with some unsuspecting Thunder fans.

Ibaka called for size 16 sneakers.

Harden headed to the ball rack.

“It’s too heavy,” Harden said as he held a bowling ball before settling for a 12-pounder.

Green, meanwhile, opted for comfort.

“I need a ball that fits my fingers,” he said as he unsuccessfully tried to squeeze three fingers in three tiny holes.

Green, Harden and Ibaka proceeded to ham it up amongst each other and the dozens of people taking in an evening of bowling.

Mike Rhodes and his crew of six came to RedPin to bowl and have fun. Not until they called ahead did they know the Thunder would be making an appearance. And a while later, Rhodes and Co. found themselves sharing a couch and lane with three NBA players.

“This right here makes me want to go to more games, because I’m like, ‘oh my goodness, I met these guys, I bowled with them,’” said Rhodes, 29, of Oklahoma City. “Seeing them down on the court is going to be a lot more personable to me as a fan. I guarantee I’ll go to a lot more games now because of this.”

Rhodes was about as animated on the bowling lane as the Thunder trio.

Ibaka bowled a strike, flashed a wide smile and gave himself a round of applause. Harden did a jig after knocking down some pins. And Green exchanged high-fives with anyone in sight, including Rhodes.

Soon after, Rhodes, his party and dozens of others at the lounge received complimentary tickets to Wednesday’s season opener against the Sacramento Kings.

Sandra Butzberger, an Arizona native now living in Oklahoma City, was one of the lucky ones to score tickets. There for a company outing, the University of Arizona fan couldn’t help herself from seeking out Harden, a former Arizona State Sun Devil.

“Someone said his name and I thought that sounded familiar,” Butzberger said.

By the end of the night, Green claimed to have won the first bowling game. But Harden said he’s the most skilled.

“I’m solid,” he said. “I’m not bad at all. I can have some good games. I think I’m the best one on my team though, so that’s all that matters.”

Contact Chris Silva