Evidently there can be a silver lining to even the darkest cloud. After Hugo (Ok.) High basketball player Trey Johnson skyrocketed from obscurity to national fame for all the wrong reasons on Friday, his local pro team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, reached out to make sure that he wasn’t being too hard on himself in the aftermath of one blown play.
Then the Thunder did something that went a bit farther: They invited him to Sunday’s Thunder-Celtics game as an official guest of the team, giving him the chance to meet his basketball idols Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook … and pick up a pair of sweet kicks in the process.
As reported by The Oklahoman, Johnson -- who you probably remember got confused and scored a game-winning basket for an opponent in his own basket at the buzzer -- received a call from Thunder general manager Sam Presti on Friday, less than 24 hours after his discombobulated layup unintentionally eliminated Hugo from the postseason. The GM offered words of encouragement and then invited Johnson to Sunday’s Thunder home game.
When he got to the game, Johnson got the chance to hang out with the Thunder during the pregame shootaround. He then sat courtside for the game with Thunder ownership, and afterward walked away with some pretty special gifts: A signed Kevin Durant sneaker and the pair that Westbrook wore during Sunday’s victory against the Celtics, also signed, of course.
While there was plenty of obvious concern for Johnson’s mental well being following Thursday night’s gaffe, stories delving into his mental state since have uncovered nothing but reassuring vibes, from the junior's three-sport stardom and honor student track record at Hugo to the general impression he leaves with his peers and coaches.
“There's nothing that anybody can do or say that will change my opinion of him,” Hugo basketball coach Darnell Shanklin told The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson. “He's a great kid, tremendous talent, and he'll do wonderful, wonderful things.”
Now, he’ll get to do wonderful, wonderful things with some special signed shoes in his room. It may not be the same as a trip to the state semifinals, but it’s probably a nice consolation prize that Johnson never could have imagined he’d get at the start of the playoffs.