As we chronicled Oklahoma State Senator David Holt's story in "Big League City," the quest for OKC to get an NBA franchise was a decade-long affair with many twists and turns. One of the things that stood out to me in Holt's account was the following:
"There are two things that have defined us through the years, and the other is the Bombing. That was the other time in our history when everyone in the world was saying the words OKC, and the reason why of course was what happened in 1995. But I say this in the book, Cornett was very respectful of that but he wanted to find another word to put after OKC other than "bombing." Now that word is "Thunder." That's a great positive image for the city and it means all around the world, people know where you are from. For me as someone who is from OKC, I want that for my city. I want us to be world class. I want people to know where our city is and for people to be interested in us, and if I've chosen to live here as I have, I want to be part of something. Young people in America want to be a part of something bigger than themselves."
In light of that sentiment, it is a sweet discovery by The Oklahoman's Anthony Slater to discover that a Russell Westbrook fan has been discovered on the other side of the globe. In the war-torn country of Rwanda lies a mountain village called Rwankuba, and in this town is an 18 year old boy who knows who Westbrook is.
So it came as no surprise to Betsy Dewey, a Peace Corps volunteer from Oklahoma City, that the Rwandan natives had never heard of her home state.
"New York or California?" they'd ask back in January, her first month in the village, when she introduced herself as an American.
"Oklahoma," she'd reply. "It's in the center of the country, but it's not famous. Don't worry."
There was no expectation that they'd know. So there was no reason for her to believe Luke, one of her oldest students, when he proclaimed: "Oh yeah, I know Oklahoma."
"No you don't, Luke," she laughed.
"Yeah, I do," he replied. "They have the Thunder. Do you know Russell Westbrook?"
Kevin Durant is of course one of the most popular NBA players on the planet, yet this kid says that Westbrook is the guy after which he wants to model his game.
Be sure to check out Slater's post, as it has some great photos of the school children and their teacher.
This one line from Ms. Dewey made me smile:
"Luke will always try to make weird moves and say, ‘Look, I am like Russell," Betsy Dewey laughed
Who's laughing now, Ms. Dewey?
Not Luke, that's for sure.