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Thunder players provide holiday gifts for children

Paul George was one of the players at the Thunder's shopping spree for children. (KOKH/Will Maetzold)

It was an exciting day for 9-year-old Jayden.

He got to pick out whatever he wanted while shopping with the Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George during the team's annual shopping spree.

Thunder players said they enjoy doing this every year.

They said it really makes a difference in making the holiday season a little better.

"To be able to come out here and enjoy the day and enjoy this atmosphere is something wonderful," Thunder forward Nerlens Noel said. "These kids are so delightful to be around. They're just such positive energy and just want to play with their toys."

Players helped the children they were paired with find exactly what they wanted for the holidays. A lot of what they picked has been on their list for a long time.

"The main thing is most of these kids tend to be a bit shy because they haven't really gotten anything in life," Thunder center Steven Adams said. "So it's trying to bring it out in them that it's OK to indulge a little bit. Get something that makes you happy."

The shopping spree is with the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program from Sunbeam Family Services.

The team said it's important they continue to provide this opportunity.

"For the amount of support we receive, it's absolutely incumbent and imperative for us an organization to make the relationship as reciprocal as possible," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. "And there's no better time than during the holidays."

At the end of the day, Jayden said it makes a difference for his Christmas.

"Way better," he said.

In all, 22 children got to shop for gifts. The entire Thunder team was there to help them.

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