Tahlequah Daily Press

Thunder/NBA

June 14, 2013

Former NBA stars host camp for tornado victims

MOORE — Students whose elementary schools were destroyed when a May 20 tornado ripped through Moore had a chance to hone their basketball skills Thursday with several former NBA greats.

About 50 students from Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary schools participated in the camp at Moore High School with former NBA All-Stars Otis Birdsong, Micheal Ray Richardson and University of Tulsa coach Danny Manning, among others.

Richardson, a four-time All-Star with the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets in the 1980s, said he felt compelled to participate after seeing the devastation in Moore.

"It was devastating just to watch it," said Richardson, who now lives in Lawton. "And to know there were kids who didn't make it ... I just thought if there's anything I can do to help, I'm going to do it."

The May 20 tornado killed 24 people, including 10 children, and injured more than 300. Seven of the children who died were crushed when the tornado slammed into the Plaza Towers Elementary School.

Rick Gallant, whose home was damaged in the tornado, said he brought his two sons to the camp to give them something fun to do and take their mind off the devastation of the tornado.

"We had a vacation planned this week, and we didn't go," Gallant said. "We've got too much work to do with the house."

After the camp, the students were invited to a nearby fun park to play laser tag and video games at another event sponsored by the Police Athletic League, which co-hosted the basketball camp with the National Basketball Retired Players Association.

"This whole thing is being done so that their last memory isn't a tornado destroying their school and killing their classmates," said Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson.

Jimmy Akin, a sixth-grader at Plaza Towers, said he was huddled into a bathroom as the storm approached and ended up pinned beneath a wall that collapsed on his leg.

"The tornado blew the roof completely off," Jimmy said.

Although he participated in running, dribbling and shooting drills with members of the University of Tulsa men's basketball team, Jimmy admitted basketball wasn't his favorite hobby.

"My mom signed me up," he said. "I would really rather be in my hotel room reading a book."

1
Text Only
Thunder/NBA
Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Stocks