The Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team and Thunder Cares Foundation are partnering with the city of Tulsa to build a sports/basketball court at B.C. Franklin Park, 1818 E. Virgin St., city and team officials have confirmed.
“We’re really looking forward to moving ahead with the process and getting it done,” said Dan Mahoney, vice president of corporate communications and broadcasting for the Thunder.
Franklin Park is undergoing a major renovation that includes the reconstruction of its sports/basketball courts. Parks Director Lucy Dolman said the city is rebuilding one court at the park and Thunder Cares Foundation will pay for the construction of a second court.
The park renovations are scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2017.
“They’re called Thundering Up,” Dolman said. “They will do Thunder logos on both of them so they will match. They will be really cool.”
Mahoney said Tulsans have shown strong support for the Thunder and that the court enhancements are a way to encourage continued support and help the community.
“We are very excited about it and looking forward to it,” Mahoney said.
Dolman said the George Kaiser Family Foundation helped set up discussions with the Thunder Cares Foundation about needs the city might have at its parks. Christine Berney, the Thunder’s vice president of community relations, visited B.C. Franklin with Dolman late last year.
“We toured the place; she liked it,” Dolman said.
The Thunder Cares Foundation has built or renovated 11 basketball courts across the state, including three at tornado-ravaged schools in Moore, Mahoney said.
Court construction or renovation typically includes painting the court Thunder blue and adding the team logo, Mahoney said. The basketball court’s backboards usually receive similar treatment, Mahoney said.
Each project is different depending on each community’s particular need.
“That has to be discussed with the city,” Mahoney said.
The foundation dedicated its 11th court in November at the Boys and Girls Club of Norman at Center for Children and Families, according to the Thunder’s website.
Typically, a Thunder player or players attend the dedication ceremony when a court is opened.
Thunder players Steve Novak and Kyle Singler attended the dedication in Norman.
B.C Franklin has received support from other community-minded organizations. The Oklahoma Surgical Foundation donated $40,000 to the city to build an outdoor exercise facility.
“We appreciate the generous support from the Thunder Cares Foundation and the Oklahoma Surgical Foundation,” Dolman said. “These donations will touch many lives for years to come.”