Pros for Africa:
An Ode to the Oklahoman Spirit
There aren’t many things in Oklahoma that bring people together quite like the fan-hood that we have for our Thunder basketball team. However, just as we Oklahomans champion behind our NBA team, we also champion behind those in need. This was illustrated yet again on Friday night when I attended the Pros for Africa Fundraiser event founded by Thunder player Serge Ibaka. Not only did I witness an impressive showing of support and concern for the needy demonstrated by some of our Thunder players, but the philanthropy of our community members in attendance was truly moving.
Of course, Serge Ibaka, and his testimony of triumph over hardship, was one of the highlighted speakers of the evening, but the keynote speech and introduction of sister Rosemary Nyirumbe of Uganda Africa was certainly the most memorable moment for many. Listening to Sister Rosemary tell of her mission and drive to provide hope and the promise of life without disease and abuse for young women in Africa left an impact on all who listened.
While the purpose of the event was sincere, and there were indeed somber moments, the general air of the evening was that of camaraderie, support, kindness, and good natured people coming together and having fun while making a difference for others. At times, the room was filled with silence and awe at the sacrifices and struggles of others, but it was also filled laughter. The biggest chuckles were heard as guests bid in the live auction to have different Thunder players attend dinner or make appearances in their family Christmas cards. At one point a guest was even persuaded into bidding by a kiss from Ibaka himself!
Throughout the evening, as I looked around the room at the diverse crowd, I was reminded that our city is one of the greatest. It is filled with compassionate and generous people, who care about making the world a better place, and I am proud to call it my home…. and to call the Thunder… my team.
To see photos from the night click the photo or here.