On Wednesday the Oklahoma City Thunder will tip off what may be their most important basketball season since the franchise moved to Oklahoma. The future of the team could be riding on what takes place over the next eight to nine months.
However, none of that mattered for a couple of hours Monday afternoon as members of the team and staff visited the OU Children's Hospital and OU Medical Center to check in on victims of Saturday's Oklahoma State homecoming parade crash.
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Enes Kanter, Nick Collison, Anthony Morrow, Andre Roberson, Mitch McGary, Cameron Payne and others paid the visit after their morning practice to try and brighten a few spirits.
“A lot of times when patients or their families are dwelling on the negatives of what could potentially happen, these events help shift that and let them focus on other things for a little bit and allow them to escape the reality they’re sitting in,” said attending trauma surgeon Jason Lees.
Of the 47 people who were injured when Adacia Avery Chambers drove her car into the homecoming parade, 11 were juveniles. Of those, five were sent to OU Children's Hospital and Medical Center.
“Just visited Stillwater kids in the OSU accident,” Kanter posted on Twitter. “Wishing them and OSU Cowboy Nation the best.#Stillwaterstrong.”
The players took photos with the children of various ages They also covered them in Thunder paraphernalia which seemed to have brought a smile to their faces judging by the photos the family members posted on social media.
“You know how some people just brighten up your day? We love the hugest smile that came across Hadley's face when Kevin Durant came to see her,” Tricia Wyatt posted on her Facebook page. “Sorry Mary Fallin and Burns Hargis...Although it was so so Sooo Nice of you to come and we really truly were honored by your visit....ya just gotta learn to dunk.”
While the children were happy to see their NBA heroes, the players said the experience meant a lot to them as well.
“It makes me appreciate my family, my teammates and friends even more,” Morrow said. “To see a parent or a grandparent stay strong through this type of tragedy is something special.”