It’s unclear where Roberson might fit in a potential Thunder rotation, or if he can return to the top-level defensive form he once had, but his size and length make him an available option at a number of different positions. “He’s doing great. I thought he had a great time off, and he was able to work a lot on rehabbing his knee,” Danilo Gallinari said. “He looks great, and I’m very happy to see him back because I know what it means to be out that long with that injury, so to see him back and the joy and energy he brings to the team, it’s great to see.”
Roberts said there also will be social justice messages on jerseys in languages other than English, including Slovenian, Italian, French Creole, Latvian, Maori, Hebrew, Bosnian and Portuguese. Oklahoma City Thunder guard and NBPA executive director Chris Paul plans to have “EQUALITY” on the back of his jersey. “I chose ‘EQUALITY’ because it reminds us that in order to have real impact and change, we need to make a conscious effort to level the playing field and create systems that are not bias based on race, education, economics or gender,” Paul told The Undefeated.


Storyline: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Sneaker Deal

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander signs with Converse

The shoes hung over Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s shoulders by their laces, blurred out before the big reveal. The Thunder’s future star stood with a serious expression on his face. This was an announcement of a new venture for Gilgeous-Alexander, one the 21-year-old has been able to get comfortable with during the NBA’s long layoff. Gilgeous-Alexander was unveiled as the next Converse Hoops athlete Wednesday morning. He adds his name to Golden State’s Draymond Green, Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud and Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. as athletes representing the iconic shoe brand.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 2 more rumors
Gilgeous-Alexander has been a Nike-sponsored athlete since coming into the league in 2018, and Converse has been a subsidiary of Nike since 2003. Following a move by Gilgeous-Alexander’s Nike rep — Adrian Stelly — to Converse, his agent, Thad Foucher of Wasserman Media Group, negotiated a deal to bring Gilgeous-Alexander to Converse as well. “Once he (Stelly) sat down and kind of showed me the things, things that could be possible, that could be in my near future, it’s something I took very seriously and something I’m proud to say I’m a part of,” Gilgeous-Alexander told The Athletic on Monday.
The Thunder, with CAA Sports, has created the Thunder Fellows Program, a nonprofit organization designed to unlock opportunities in sports, technology and entertainment for Black students in the Tulsa area, the team announced Tuesday. The program, guided by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, will be comprised of two groups of students: Fellows, Black students from regional colleges and universities, and Young Leaders, Black students in the Tulsa area from grades 8 to 12.
The Thunder Fellows Program will be located in Tulsa’s Greenwood District, the site of the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921 when white mobs killed hundreds of Black people and destroyed homes and businesses in what was known as Black Wall Street. “Our organization is deeply committed to social justice and the actions that are necessary to create better opportunities for the Black community, now and in the future,” Thunder chairman Clay Bennett said in release. “We will work tirelessly to make this a program that will create change for generations to come.”
Paul gave basketball fans some insight on what that hour was like for him in an interview with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles on the “Knuckleheads” podcast, and he revealed he spoke to Bryant during that small window of time: “I was on the phone with my brother and my agent, and all that. We figuring out a plane to get to New Orleans to get us to LA … let’s just say my agent clicked over, said hold on, clicked over and then he came back on and he was like, stuttering. And we was hot. We was hot. Me and Kobe had talked, you know what I’m saying? We had talked already and all that. And it was a lot. It was a lot.”
She quickly became aware of Paul’s reputation as Paul became aware of hers. Despite living in Los Angeles, Paul knew other D.C. lawyers. “I couldn’t figure it out,” Roberts said. “How does this guy know people in my circle?” Roberts laughs about it now, realizing how extensive Paul’s list of contacts is. “In the last few months we’ve gotten closer,” Roberts said. “I count him as one of my favorite people on the planet. And not because he’s making my life easier, though God knows he is, but because his concern and commitment to this game, to his brothers, is extraordinary.”
Some might question if a future hall of famer is working in the best interests of players buried on the end of the bench, but Iguodala said Paul always falls back on the same mantra: “How can we amplify every player’s voice?” “He’s the definition of a leader, man,” said Grizzlies forward and NBPA secretary-treasurer Anthony Tolliver. “I don’t think there could be a better combination of leadership and superstardom and work ethic when it comes to leading this union. “Whoever comes next is definitely going to have pretty big shoes to fill.”
The Thunder have been in this position before. For the fourth time in their 12 seasons, the Thunder have lost an assistant general manager to another team. It’s a testament to the sharp minds general manager Sam Presti has surrounded himself with in Oklahoma City. This time is a little different. Troy Weaver was different, from his eye for talent (documented by The Athletic’s James Edwards III) to his truth-telling style, from his storytelling to his trash-talking.
Weaver — the Thunder’s vice president of basketball operations for the last seven seasons — bridged the gap between executive and player better than any high-ranking front-office member in the Thunder’s history. It’s why so many players who’ve come through Oklahoma City were overjoyed when Weaver was named the general manager of the Detroit Pistons on June 18. When Thunder guard Chris Paul picked up his phone and saw Weaver was hired in Detroit, he called and congratulated him. Even before Weaver was hired — when there were reports Weaver was in the running for the Detroit GM job — Paul called then, too.