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Thunder dedicate refurbished court

The basketball court at Lee West Park has a new paint job.

Hundreds of Lawton citizens gathered Friday afternoon for a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the official opening of the refurbished court. The court, which is the 24th built or refurbished court through the Thunder Cares Foundation, received new goals and was painted blue with Thunder logos scattered throughout.

Lawton Mayor Stan Booker spoke to the crowd prior to the ribbon-cutting to describe what he hopes the park will come to be.

“The dedication of this park speaks to what we are all about here,” he said. “That includes community engagement, healthy living, state pride and local beautification. If you frequent the West side of town, you know that this court gets a lot of action. It’s very important. What an appropriate place for Thunder park.”

The crowd also was treated to performances from the Thunder Girls, Thunder Drummer and Rumble, the Thunder’s mascot. Afterward, there was a short clinic for the kids in attendance, who were put through dribbling, passing and shooting drills. The goal was to bring a game day atmosphere to Thunder fans who might not otherwise experience it, Community Relations Director Erin Oldfield said.

“We know that not everyone has the opportunity to come to the arena and be a part of things there, so in this atmosphere we’re able to bring the party on the road, which is a lot of fun,” she said. “Going all the way back through the years, it’s been fun to hear the stories from different people over time. Some of the inner city places where we’ve put in courts, it’s interesting to the whole area. The graffiti is gone and people really take care of that space. It gives people the opportunity to come together who might not come together otherwise.”

The community members shared the excitement. Jimmy Suitt, a 21-year-old student at Cameron University, stuck out from the sea of blue in a major way. Suitt donned a Houston Rockets jersey with James Harden’s name and number stitched on the back. Harden, who won the MVP in 2018 and was traded from the Thunder to Houston in 2012, is a sore subject for many Thunder fans.

The Lawton Constitution

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