The Oklahoma City Thunder and CAA Sports, a division of the entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) announced a partnership to provide new opportunities in sports, technology, and entertainment for Black students in Tulsa.
The Thunder Fellows Program will feature Fellows, Black students from regional colleges and universities, as well as Young Leaders, Black students from the 8th through 12th grade. The program is guided by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
In a statement, Thunder Executive Vice President & General Manager Sam Presti said,
“May 31, 2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. It is time for us to come to terms with the devastation of this atrocity. Our hope is that the Thunder Fellows Program captures the spirit of the Greenwood District while helping to launch and create future opportunities for local area Black youth. Our goal is to effect long-term sustainable change in our entire state and provide future-proof skills that can be leveraged for economic empowerment and mobility.”
In a release, the Thunder Fellows program said they “aim to help close the opportunity gap for Black students in Tulsa. Students will be exposed to a variety of disciplines within Thunder basketball operations, where they will work on real-world projects for the organization.”
George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) will provide additional guidance for the program. Brandon Oldham, the Program Officer from the GKFF said, "“It’s incredibly special to have these dynamic institutions—the Thunder and CAA Sports—making this investment in Tulsa’s youth, and we at the George Kaiser Family Foundation are excited to be among the partners who will support them as they move forward.”
The program said that there will be one Thunder Fellows Program board seat reserved each year for a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder roster.
The program will launch in 2021 and will be located in the Historic Greenwood District.