Former OKC Thunder star Paul George dedicates kid friendly fishing dock

Paul George, OKC Thunder   (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
Paul George, OKC Thunder   (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

Former OKC Thunder star Paul George took time out in his return to OKC to dedicate a fishing dock building on his passion away from the hardwood.

One of the perks of playing in the NBA is players get opportunities to follow their off court passions. In the case of former OKC Thunder superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, it was photography and fashion respectively.

Likewise, the popularity players have gives them the platform to pursue philanthropic endeavors and isolate causes close to their hearts.

Westbrook’s Why Not? foundation was extremely active both in Oklahoma City and his native Los Angeles where he hosted bowling, comedy and holiday events. Additionally, his Honor the Gift brand tied back to his love for fashion and frequently aligned with other organizations in cross-promotional efforts to benefit others (typically geared toward youth).

A host of OKC Thunder players run basketball camps to give back to the sport and help foster the development of the game. These camps often occur in the player’s home city, state, or country and typically have ties to charity.

Since 2013, Steven Adams returns home to New Zealand conducting a series of free camps and for the past four years partnered with Meadow Fresh to provide groceries including bread and milk to camp attendees.

This past summer the Big Kiwi conducted camps in Invercargill, Napier, and Whangarei. Additionally, Adams hosted a fashion show and charity auction fundraiser.

Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ran camps in  Hamilton (just outside Toronto) this past summer also providing back to school supplies.

Ditto for Terrance Ferguson who held his annual event in Tulsa Oklahoma handing out school supplies and running camps. Likewise, Hamidou Diallo worked in conjunction with the NBPA who ran free camps. The Thunder sophomore appeared in camps run in his native New York.

Chris Paul is heavily involved with growing the sport at a grassroots level. CP3 holds camps and this summer expanded to include coaching as he brought a team to TBT.

Throughout the season it’s a common sight for young players like Chicago Bulls Coby White and Wendell Carter Jr. to seek out Paul after games as many have ties to Paul’s AAU teams.

Listen in on post game interviews with the rising stars of this era and more often than not Chris Paul is a player cited as a mentor. His roots run deep as he’s been an influencer at all levels of the sport.

Basketball camps are a logical tie for many NBA players to give back. For players like SGA and Adams, it allows them to help build the sport outside the U.S. and let youngsters meet someone who succeeded at a high level in sports.

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Camps aren’t the only charitable way to give back to communities as the Thunder players and team are often involved in a variety of ways in the community. Chris Paul also works with Big Brother and Big Sisters. Mike Muscala has an ongoing relationship with Pay Away the Layaway. And, there are numerous team driven events.

This isn’t a new concept as arguably the OKC Thunder and players have perhaps the strongest ties to their community. Small market teams allow for a more collegial connection plus the culture of the club is very much part of the core identity.

As such this foundation is often reflected even with former players. To that end, with the LA Clippers in town Paul George was on hand to finish something he launched while a member of the Thunder.

Fans know PG13 is a huge advocate of fishing using it as a way to relax and find quiet moments off the court. While with OKC he held fishing tournaments and was active seeking out fishing holes on his off days.

With his passion for fishing, it made a ton of sense this would be a philanthropic effort George would pursue in OKC. What makes this situation unique is the dock was created to help encourage young fishing fans to embrace PG’s favorite past time. He began the venture prior to departing for the Clippers and used his visit back to dedicate the dock.

The kid-friendly dock is situated in South Lakes Park and part of the OK Fishing in the Schools Program with ties to 13 OKC schools in the district. For the dedication children from Rockwood Elementary were in attendance to cast lines once the ceremony was completed.

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The OKC Thunder host the LA Clippers in tonight at 7:00 p.m. CST (8:00 pm EST) as the teams play for the third time this season. The winner will hold an advantage in a tie break scenario with one more meeting set for April 4th in LA.