Friday, May 24, 2024

Thunder’s Shabar Ewing is on the Forefront of Tradition and Neighborhood Engagement


Just a few years in the past, we printed a narrative about Shabar Ewing, who on the time was the go-to man in your favourite hoopers once they arrived within the Massive Apple. Calling Shabar the plug doesn’t suffice, he was extra just like the supply. Whether or not they wanted assist securing a reservation at a Michelin-star restaurant, bottle service at a prestigious nightclub or just a trusted confidant to mitigate any potential drama that comes with an evening out as a high-profile athlete, name Shabar and he was certain to carry it down. With no consideration-hand man and occasion promoter, he was making upwards of 25k on any given night time. However after over a decade of working in nightlife, Shabar realized it wasn’t sustainable, both monetarily or personally. He sought one thing extra significant and substantial.

“I didn’t have an concept of what my future regarded like at that second of being within the golf equipment, simply selling and being across the guys… so I used to be simply taking it as is,” says Shabar.

Ultimately, his stars started to align themselves. In 2017, he met some heavy hitters from Adidas and located his approach to establishing a full-time position with the corporate, which marked the turning level in not solely his profession but additionally his perspective shifting ahead. “From me working with Adidas as a advertising marketing consultant within the grassroots basketball division, that form of, like, sparked my curiosity of, oh, I may work company, I can truly do that… That made me shelf nightlife,” Shabar recollects. “It gave me the concept that I can do one thing completely different and leverage my relationships and leverage my talents.”

His journey is exemplary of how the sport can allow a child who was dealt a troublesome hand to benefit from his playing cards. He grew up in a single-parent family in Redfern Tasks, one of many infamous initiatives in Queens, and says he clawed his manner out. “My mother was adamant about me getting out of the initiatives, she wished a greater life for me and I thank her for that,” says Shabar. “A giant a part of that pathway was placing me in sports activities. I believe that’s the primary encounter of the concept of getting out the hood–it’s sports activities or rap. As soon as I picked up that basketball, I felt empowered.” And like many younger Black boys who develop up within the initiatives, Shabar had hoop goals of creating it within the execs. Sadly, his enjoying days have been reduce brief after sustaining a knee harm whereas enjoying at Metropolis Faculty of San Francisco, however the sport remained a central part of his life trajectory. He by no means bought to understand his NBA dream… as a participant. He nonetheless discovered a approach to the League, simply another way. 

Immediately, Shabar is the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder’s fan growth expertise coordinator, a task he accepted final November. “It was an actual emotional second, to be trustworthy with you,” Shabar says of the second he discovered he had been provided the job. “You already know, you dream of getting drafted. This was my draft.”

As a fan growth expertise coordinator, Shabar’s precedence is creating an intersection with tradition and basketball by means of actions that have interaction native followers. It’s one thing that’s a lot simpler stated than completed, particularly for a small market like Oklahoma Metropolis. However Shabar is supplied with the expertise to excel. “It’s one thing I’ve been doing for a very long time,” he says. “In a way, selling events is that intersection between sports activities and tradition and way of life branding. I used to be creating experiences in New York Metropolis; I’m simply bringing that very same factor right here.”

Shabar has gotten off to a fantastic begin in serving to strengthen the bond between the Oklahoma Metropolis locals and the Thunder. He just lately spearheaded an “HBCU Night time” in honor of Black Historical past Month, wherein they highlighted Oklahoma’s solely HBCU, Langston College, the place college students created a particular version shirt impressed by the custom of their college. The night time’s objective was “schooling, elevation and celebration,” says Shabar. Secure to say, mission completed.

“I’m simply right here attempting to develop and study every part I can from everyone that’s round me,” Shabar says. “Ultimately I might wish to step right into a management position… however I’m completely satisfied to proceed the journey with a sports activities group, particularly the OKC Thunder. It’s a good time to be right here.”

On the time of publishing, the Thunder are first within the Western Convention. In the event that they proceed to win at this fee and our SLAM 247 cowl stars proceed to progress as quickly as they’re, Shabar’s job is made that a lot simpler.


Right here’s the official Hoops, Rap and Every little thing Black playlist. It’s up to date commonly. Add the playlist to your library to remain within the know, and you’ll want to comply with SLAM on Spotify.

Images by Brooke Brennan and Stuart Bennett.



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