Posted on 01 August 2012
By NICK GALLO | Thunder Basketball Writer
A booming but joyous bellow sounded through the high ceilings at the Thunder Events Center this week. Seconds later, a grinning Hasheem Thabeet walked in to get fitted into his new Thunder gear.
The 7-foot-3 Tanzanian center who joined the Thunder via free agency laughed, joked and asked questions throughout his introductory photo shoot, showing off the personable side of the former UConn Huskies standout who is entering his fourth season in the NBA.
Whether it was asking photography questions, disclosing that he learned the English language by reading Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels or describing the library construction project that he funded and saw through to completion first hand, brick-by-brick back in Tanzania, Thabeet was engaging. The new member of the Thunder expressed excitement to be joining the organization, in addition to explaining that his number one task is to work as hard as he possibly can to improve as a player.
After his photo shoot was completed, thunder.nba.com had the chance to catch up with the now biggest man on the Thunder roster and see how his transition to Oklahoma City and the Thunder has gone so far.
On the transition to joining the Thunder organization thus far:
It’s been pretty good. Everybody has been pretty supportive, everybody has been pretty positive about the whole situation. I’m just ready to come in and be ready for anything.
On his experience watching his new teammates play at summer league in Orlando:
It was great. They work hard, that’s what, when I talked to the coaches and everybody, they told me that’s what I have to bring in, hard work. I’m willing to work. It’s a different situation and another opportunity and I just have to come in and capitalize on it.
On his work outs with Daequan Cook and Eric Maynor in Orlando:
It was pretty good, I was trying to get acclimated to a lot of stuff that the team does. It was a great experience. The guys work hard. Eric is trying to come back, Daequan has been in the league a few years. It was great for me just to get to hang out with the guys on the team. I know a lot of the guys, but I actually never get to hang out and work out with them. So it was pretty cool, and I’m excited for the season.
On his perceptions of Oklahoma City thus far:
It’s pretty good, it’s very quiet, it’s very chill. I like it.
On his conversations with the Thunder coaching staff:
They just told me that I have to be ready to work. That’s my focus right now, just come in and be able to work each day and get better every day.
On if he will watch Thunder players Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden compete for Team USA:
Definitely, it’s a great team, they have a lot of great guys on the team. For them to be a part of it from the Thunder organization, it’s great for the team and I think they’ll do well.
Thunder basketball writer Nick Gallo talks with the Thunder’s newly acquired 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet. Click To watch