NBA

When actor Michael Rapaport was growing up, he convinced himself he would end up playing professional basketball. There was a major pivotal moment: the legendary 1979 NCAA championship game that featured Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who both eventually became NBA Hall of Famers.

"That was like a game-changer for me," Rapaport told Morning Edition host David Greene. "I wanted to be like Larry Bird. I wanted to be like Magic Johnson. And I set a goal of being in the NBA, and I would live my life accordingly."

A close loss was followed by a rough flight for the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team early Saturday, when its chartered flight landed at Chicago's Midway International Airport with the nose of the plane caved in.

The plane touched down safely and on schedule around 1 a.m. local time, albeit not totally intact, following the Thunder's 116-119 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in Minneapolis.

Several players immediately took to social media with photographs of the damage and to express their incredulity about the size and cause of the crater.

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A new basketball star is now in the Sooner State.

Four-time All-Star Paul George arrived at Will Rogers International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, and met with fans at The Jones Assembly on Wednesday night.

The 6'9" forward says he's excited about joining a team led by the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, Russell Westbrook.

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The Oklahoma City Thunder introduced two of their newest players to the media Tuesday.

The team signed free agents Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton during the offseason.

Felton is a 12-year veteran of the NBA who will primarily serve as Russell Westbrook’s backup point guard. He says he signed with Oklahoma City because he wants to compete for a championship.

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After Historic Season, Westbrook Wins MVP

Jun 27, 2017
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Oklahoma City Thunder Point Guard Russell Westbrook won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award Monday night.

Westbrook thanked his family, the Thunder organization and Oklahoma City fans.

“You guys have been riding with me since day one, you guys have been riding with me through good games and bad games, always there lifting me up, so I’m just so thankful for all the fans there” Westbrook said.

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The Oklahoma City Thunder stayed pat with their lone draft pick on Thursday.

With the 21st pick, OKC selected Terrance Ferguson, a 19-year-old shooting guard that played professional basketball in Australia last season, in lieu of attending college.

Thunder General Manager Sam Presti hailed Ferguson as a knockdown three-point shooter and an athletic wing defender who can cover multiple positions.

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The Oklahoma City Thunder hold only one selection in tonight's NBA Draft, at No. 21.

Andrew Schlecht of the Down To Dunk podcast says one of OKC's most glaring needs is a backup point guard.

"The guy that I think fits the best is Derrick White out of Colorado. He's 6'5, he's got a 6'7 wingspan, he can play both guard positions, he can shoot from three. And I think when the Thunder look for a backup point guard, they're also looking for someone who can play next to Russell Westbrook."

The Golden State Warriors earned their second NBA title in three years with a 129 to 120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland Monday night, led by All-Star forward Kevin Durant's 39 points and strong bench scoring.

Durant's stellar play all season and throughout the playoffs vindicated Golden State's massive payout to the superstar in a controversial off-season deal.

Fellow All-Star Stephen Curry added 34 points.

But it was Durant, who left Oklahoma City for Oakland at the end of last season, who carried the team.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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