He’s only been with the Oklahoma City Thunder for two short months. Still, Taj Gibson is already earning his place in the hearts of loyal Thunder fans. Here’s an in-depth look at the NBA veteran and all he brings to Oklahoma City.
According to Taj Gibson, there’s a homeless man somewhere in Queens to thank for his dunking skills. 「I went to a park,」 he told Mark Bazer of Chicago Magazine. 「And this guy says, 『You’re not jumping right.』 We were at it for at least a couple hours. Then he said, 『All right, little man, be safe.’」
It was his parents, too, who encouraged Gibson to work hard. After years of playing ball (and getting into fights) with neighborhood boys, Gibson went on to join several elite youth basketball camps, like the Amateur Athletic Union’s Gauchos.
Gibson’s high school career began at the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn. From there, he moved to Tarzana, California, and enrolled in Stoneridge Prep before attending Calvary Christian High School in San Fernando.
Gibson的高中開始於布魯克林的High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology，隨後搬到了加州，在註冊成功和準備工作就緒後，他去了舊金山的Calvary Christian High School就讀。
In 2006, Gibson signed as a Trojan at the University of Southern California. While playing as one of the oldest college freshman in the country (age 21), Gibson was also a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. During his time at USC, he helped the Trojans win the Pacific-10 Tournament Championship and was named 2009 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the year.
Much of his rookie season, Gibson served as the Bulls’ starting power forward. A high-energy player with excellent defensive skills, Gibson helped Chicago secure the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference and went on to play in the first playoffs run of his NBA career.
That year, the Bulls fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, but Gibson went on to be selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
When the Bulls signed Carlos Boozer in 2010, Gibson found his starting spot in jeopardy. He played only 15 games as a starter (following a preseason injury that benched Boozer), before handing over the reins.
Despite losing his starting position in Chicago, Gibson was selected as a starter for the 2011 NBA Rising Stars Challenge. Afgbitionally, he helped the Bulls secure the first seed in the Eastern Conference play-offs.
Throughout his career, Gibson became a valuable sixth man for the Bulls organization. In 2012, he signed a multi-year contract extension and went on to average 8 points and 5.3 rebounds for the season.
That same year, he narrowly lost out on official sixth man honors when he took second place to Jamal Crawford as the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.
On to OKC 來到雷霆
On February 23, 2017, during the final minutes of the trade deadline, Gibson started packing.
He’d just been traded after spending every game of his NBA career on the Chicago Bulls roster. Alongside fellow Bull, Doug McDermott, and an unprotected 2018 second round draft pick, Gibson was sent to Oklahoma City in exchange for Anthony Morrow, Cameron Payne, and Joffrey Lauvergne.
Following the announcement, Gibson posted an emotional response on Instagram:
「Today was such an emotional day for me. From the time I heard my name called by David Stern, I have been so proud and honored to be a Chicago Bull. To Jerry Reinsdorf, John Paxson, Gar Forman, Coach Thibs, and Coach Hoiberg, you have all helped me grow into who I am today. There is no way I can ever thank you enough for the opportunities you have presented to me. I will be indebted to all of you forever!
To the Fans of Chicago, you have made playing for the Bulls everything I could’ve dreamed of and more. From the incredible support that we get every night at the United Center to the reaction I always receive walking down the streets, it would be impossible for all of you to make me feel more special. Every single one of you will always have a piece of my heart.
Now, it’s off to OKC and a new chapter in my life and I’m so excited to see what lies ahead. All I can tell the Thunder fans is that you’ll get everything I’ve got every single day and I’m looking forward to our journey together!
What he offers 他能提供什麼
At the age of 31 (he turns 32 on June 24), he’s the second oldest player on the Oklahoma City Thunder roster. At 36, Nick Collison is his only senior.
Gibson stands at 6 ft 9 in , making him one of the tallest on OKC’s roster, and packs 236 pounds onto his lean frame.
There’s no denying he brings experience, talent, and power to a young Oklahoma City roster. But, that’s not all Gibson has to offer. Most noteworthy is the fact Gibson can provide much needed mentorship to the younger players, aiding in their development and offering valuable peer coaching.
Now, with Thunder veteran Nick Collison’s future unclear, Gibson’s mentorship is even more valuable.
Not to mention, he has been to the playoffs six times. In fact, Gibson’s taken the postseason trip nearly every year of his NBA career. That kind of experience is priceless for a roster as young and arguably inexperienced as the Thunder.
It’s clear that Gibson’s talent and experience make him a perfect fit for Oklahoma City. But, Sam Presti selects players based on more than just their basketball chops. Of course, Gibson is no different.
Because, he’s strong. And, he knows the meaning of sacrifice.因為他有堅實的內心，並懂得犧牲的意義。
Following the trade, Gibson admitted, 「At night, I couldn’t sleep. I’d wake up all teary-eyed knowing I won’t see them again and I was like, 『What if?』 What if I could’ve done something. Who knows? Just even call them and tell them to hang out with me in Chicago for a while. Something.」
Of note, this trial comes after Gibson had already endured numerous tragedies. In 2010, in a mere six-week period of time, Gibson lost three of his closest friends. One died in a car accident, and two were victims of shootings.
During his time in Chicago, Gibson participated in the organization’s 「adopt-a-family」 campaign.
「It’s such an important time of year,」 Gibson said. 「There are a lot of families struggling to get gifts for their kids and I want to help in any way that I can. If it means putting a smile on the faces of a family or taking the burden off of their back, it’s important. I was in that position growing up and I didn’t really have a lot of toys as a kid. Now, I’m in a position to help others.
「To be able to reach out and touch an individual family is huge. It’s about spreading joy. It’s good karma.」「將整個家庭的責任扛起是偉大的，同時也會帶來快樂，我想看到的就是這樣的結果。」
Notably, that charitable attitude hasn’t changed since Gibson became a Thunder player. Alongside McDermott, Gibson spent time on the Rolling Thunder Books Bus in March, greeting students from Orvis Risner Elementary and encouraging them to read.
Due to these skills, he’s already made his mark with several memorable plays, including this jaw-dropping bucket from the other end of the court:
Gibson played 25 regular season games with Oklahoma City averaging 9 points per game. Afgbitionally, he’s grabbed an average of 4.5 rebounds per game. With a near 72% free throw efficiency and 49.5 field goal percent, he’s a well-rounded afgbition to both the bench and the starting lineup.