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'Never thought we'd be here': Thunder brings Barnsdall family to Game 5

Posted at 12:35 PM, May 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 20:16:48-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — A Barsndall family got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend an OKC Thunder game during the Western Conference semifinals on May 15.

It all started with this story on 2 News:

'Let's Go Thunder": Barnsdall tornado victim roots for OKC amid devastation

After seeing the story, the OKC Thunder invited John Mashunkashey to game five of the potentially seven-game series.

Mashunkashey wasn't able to attend, so he sent four of his family members, including Chris Turley, who made the Thunder sign out of tornado debris.

Just a week after the EF4 tornado crushed their hometown, this family was in the packed
Paycom Center having the time of their lives.

"Everybody's got this dream," John's son Russell said. "We never thought we'd be here."

The Mavericks were the visitors at the game, but the Mashunkasheys were the guests of honor.

The family didn't forget the destruction that came before the special night.

"We were just trying to make it to the end of the day that day," said Danny West. "It seems like life has always been one big tornado disaster for us, but we learned how to smile through it all."

Vice President of Broadcasting and Corporate Communications for the Thunder, Dan Mahoney, said the team was touched by the family's spirit amid the tragedy.

"We were all just taken by that spirit," Mahoney said. "We were humbled by it. We were moved by it, touched by it and we said we have to get them down here."

The gesture from the team wasn't lost on the family.

"It just goes to show, you know, the love and passion that us Oklahomans have for each other, especially the professionals that represent us all across the country," Chris Turley said.

The family and the Thunder are working to get the "Let's Go Thunder" sign to the Paycom Center to display if the series makes it to the seventh game.

2 News will update this story if they're able to make it happen.

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