OKC Thunder expand partnership with YMCA to 25 branches

Former OKC Thunder player Domantas Sabonis participates in a Jr. NBA Clinic on August 15, 2017 at the Summit YMCA (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)
Former OKC Thunder player Domantas Sabonis participates in a Jr. NBA Clinic on August 15, 2017 at the Summit YMCA (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder and YMCA expand upon their partnership with 25 branches participating in the Youth Basketball League this coming year.

The OKC Thunder are arguably the team with the greatest community ties in the NBA. This is partly due to the Thunder being the second smallest market and in many ways the team and community function almost as a College partnership. After all the Thunder are the only professional sports franchise in the area.

One thing the OKC Thunder have always excelled at is their interaction in the community both from the franchise itself and individual players who often hold events and charitable efforts in the community.

Another such effort was bolstered this past week with the franchise’s partnership with the YMCA. To wit, the OKC Thunder are expanding youth basketball leagues to 25 YMCA Branches. The effort will serve to reach 13,000 athletes and be available in 21 different local communities in OKC. This continues the expansion the franchise and YMCA began during a two year expansion.

The Thunder provide youth athlete and coach development resources as their main contribution to the efforts. Additionally, new rebranded jerseys will be created to reflect the partnership.

As per the OKC Thunder main site Michele Matthews who manages Thunder Youth Basketball offered the following:

"“By expanding the league with our partners at the YMCA to further branches across the state, we are able to help foster a love for the game at a young age, and impact more youth through a developmental platform,” said Michelle Matthews, manager of Thunder Youth Basketball. “We are excited for the upcoming season and look forward to seeing athletes of all skill levels take the court in the coming months.”"

In the debut of the program, the league featured 1,200 volunteer coaches who helped out with over 600 teams and reached 71 communities with 5,700 kids participating.

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The coaches who volunteer also benefit via clinics to develop and hone their own skills including different drills they can teach, how to manage the youngsters development on and off the court and are given coaching materials.

For local residents who want their children to take advantage of the YMCA Thunder Basketball League the list of 25 YMCA branches participating can be found via this link.

This type of program is wonderful for local children who’ll benefit from the knowledge of the coaches who volunteer. Kids get to expand and grow their games, interact with like minded peers who also love the sport and work to enhance their progress of basketball development. And hey, it’s fun for the kids.

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Basketball is already a beloved sport in the area but programs like this help build interest with children starting at a young age and teaches them so many valuable traits which go beyond sport.