OKC Thunder: A poignant Father’s Day celebration

Danilo Gallinari of the OKC Thunder celebrates Gallinari's fourth quarter three point basket. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Danilo Gallinari of the OKC Thunder celebrates Gallinari's fourth quarter three point basket. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

A pandemic and social justice reform created a poignant Father’s Day celebration for OKC Thunder players and fans.

The OKC Thunder players, staff, and fans all spent this past Sunday celebrating fathers, sons, and the special men in their lives.

Annual personal traditions include spending time reminiscing with my sister PJ who as a nurse has been front and center during the pandemic. Suffice to say she’s my personal hero and I couldn’t be prouder of her. Another annual ritual involves scouring NBA team sites and player’s social media for their personal messages.

This year I found to be particularly emotional and it struck a deep internal chord. The isolation so many of us have experienced due to the pandemic has heightened our appreciation for those closest to us. Likewise, the heralding for social change and the importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement made the messages posted by NBA team sites and player messages resonate deeply.

OKC Thunder touch hearts on Father’s Day

To that end, the Thunder Father’s Day offering was by far the most touching of the teams in the association. Paris Lawson posted a must-read article on the OKC Thunder official site with a companion round table video. The round table video features six members of the Thunder family who as the site states offer “a candid discussion on black fatherhood”.  The six people featured are:

  • Will Dawkins, Thunder vice president of Identification and Intelligence
  • Michael Ashton, Thunder physical trainer and therapist
  • K.J. Campbell, Thunder graphics animator and editor
  • Ade Amuda, Thunder manager of Events and Entertainment
  • Mike Wilks, Thunder assistant coach
  • Michael Cage, Thunder broadcast analyst

The round table drives home how these men were impacted by their fathers and how they plan to raise their own children. That these six men continue to focus on hope speaks to the quality of character of this group.

A great compilation of team videos and social media messages is available on NBA.com.

As for the OKC Thunder players, a trio of notable social media posts covered the gamut of Father’s Day celebrations.

Chris Paul‘s Instagram featuring a generation of sons and fathers:


Danilo Gallinari celebrated and honored his father on his Twitter account:


Terrance Ferguson posted on his Twitter account delighting in his joy of being a father:


Here’s hoping each of you in Thunder Nation was able to spend Father’s Day celebrating fathers, grandfathers, sons, uncles, and all the special men in your life.

Moving into this week the OKC Thunder continues to ramp up efforts for resuming the season in the Disney bubble. Today teams will begin administering COVID-19 tests and do so every other day. Wednesday (June 24th) is the deadline for players to inform teams of their participation intentions. To wit, there are four Thunder players affected by contact choices as part of their decision.

Stay safe and healthy.

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