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News » Players spread Christmas joy

Players spread Christmas joy

Players spread Christmas joy
Jacob Franks raced his bicycle down the aisle with Kevin Durant. An unsuspecting customer leaped back, unaware last year's NBA Rookie of the Year and Jacob, 6, were test driving bikes at a Target in north Oklahoma City.

Assisted by veteran forward Joe Smith, Jacob's sister, Brittany, 10, picked out a 24-inch pink Schwinn with matching pink water bottle.

"I am so excited to get a new bike," Brittany said. "This is the best Christmas ever."

A holiday shopping spree was an unforgettable memory for 10 families, but especially meaningful for Patricia Franks and her four grandchildren. Their house in southeast Oklahoma City burned down two days before Thanksgiving.

"They said it was an electrical short in one of the space heater wires," Patricia said. "We have clothes that were donated. It was a lot of the other stuff we need. I had so much stuff to replace in my kitchen but was thinking more of the kids. Three of them got bikes. I don't know what to say."

The 10 families were chosen randomly from among the 138 Grandparents Raising Grandkids applicants, a program supported by the Sunbeam Family Services program. Each family received a $1,000 shopping spree. The money was donated by Thunder players, coaches and staff.

The Oklahoma City Police Department and Sheriff's Department were partners. Target also provided an additional $250 gift card for each family.

Thunder players, wearing blue Santa hats, seemed to enjoy filling up baskets as much as the kids and grandparents.

"We have a great bunch of guys," said interim coach Scott Brooks. "Just look at their smiles. You can tell they're really enjoying this."

Patricia filled her cart with silverware, pots and pans and electrical appliances, replacing items lost in the fire. As the one-hour shopping spree was winding down, Patricia opted not to purchase sheets, unsure when an insurance check will arrive to replace charred beds ruined in the fire.

Veteran forward Damien Wilkins informed Patricia to toss the sheets in the basket, promising to purchase four twin beds and a queen set. He told her he would have Mathis Brothers deliver the five new beds to her daughter's home, the family's temporary residence.

"We were told about this (shopping spree) before the fire," said Patricia, tears forming in her eyes. "I had no idea we'd get $1,000. I didn't anticipate getting anything for myself. I can't come up with words to say how I feel. I'm so appreciative."

When she was informed Wilkins wore No. 21 if she watches a Thunder game on TV, Patricia misunderstood and said they couldn't afford to attend a game. Wilkins interrupted, stating he would make sure Patricia's family receives tickets to an upcoming game. He then told her a quick story.

"I wasn't even playing a few weeks ago," Wilkins told Patricia. "Now I'm starting. You never know when good things might happen."


→When: 7 tonight

→Where: Ford Center

→TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37)

→Radio: WWLS-FM 98.1, WWLS-AM 640

→Live blog: uniquefile_1228886594_13876_51.file_2.txt

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 12, 2008


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