OKLAHOMA CITY - It has become a staple of Oklahoma City Thunder playoff basketball – a free T-shirt for every fan that attends home games throughout the playoffs.
The Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City starts out with the same black and gray seats it has for every event, but hours before tip-off, all that can be seen is blue and white.
Each game, the Thunder foots the bill for more than 18,000 shirts to be given away. Dozens of volunteers are brought in to lay the shirts out prior to the game. It takes just about 30 minutes to get the job done.
Organizers say it is important to keep fans engaged and pumped during the game and the T-shirts are just one way to do that, as the shirts are displayed not just to those in the arena, but to a national and international TV audience.
Volunteers say the T-shirts bring the community together. It embodies the Thunder ideal of team and community as one.
With 27 playoff games played at OKC, more than 490,000 T-shirts have been given away.