Thunder Girl: Made in Edmond
Not everyone who graduates from high school can say they’ve done what one Edmond teen had the chance to do. When Alexis Hancock was only 18 years old, she was selected to join the NBA Thunder Girls squad and was the youngest member on the team. Hancock is now 20 and still dances with her fellow teammates for the fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I love my job, because I love to dance. I love interacting with people,” Hancock said. “It’s not because I want to get up and put my makeup on and dance around in a bikini and look cute, that’s the last thing on my list.”
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Hancock moved to Edmond with her family when she was 5. She graduated from Edmond Memorial and is now a sophomore at UCO majoring in Elementary Education. She started dancing when she was 3 and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. She has participated in competitive dance since the age of 5. She took part in competitions across the country, from California to Las Vegas and Oklahoma. “I have even preformed at Animal Kingdom in Disney World,” she said when she danced for an Edmond studio named Kim Massey Dance. With Kim Massey she took part in competitions on a national level, and won in different categories, such as jazz, lyrical, production and best small group. So it is not a surprise that Hancock’s dedication helped her land her dream job.
At the end of her senior year one of her friends suggested she should become a Thunder Girl. “I thought she was joking,” Hancock said. All of the girls on the team were professional NBA dancers. Hancock wasn’t sure if she’d be able to make it but decided to try. “I looked it up on the Internet and it seemed kind of cool, amazing, not kind of cool, awesome.”
Hancock worked very hard with the help of a personal trainer. Then she signed up for the try-out, the first phase of the selection process, where she was competing with 100 girls. After making the cut to the next rounds, Hancock went through an interview and made it to the final round, along with about 40 more girls. Half of them were selected for the team. It is her second year on the squad.
“The first year they called my name I literally felt like the floor had fallen beneath me. I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was a part of the new family. I got to high five my dad and hug my mom. It was really exciting.”
The practices began and Hancock had to adjust quickly to her new schedule. “It’s a very busy week. We may have a game Sunday, practice Monday, practice Tuesday, Wednesday, game Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” she said. “Outside of that you have work and school, and on top of that you are working out.” But the experience is amazing and the rest of the girls are her best friends. “I love them, they are the first people I call,” she said. “These are the people to fall back on, because nobody understands your life but them.”
Hancock’s most memorable moment as a Thunder Girl was her first game. “There were 18,000 people standing there watching the court and I was on it. It was crazy.” She added there were many other touching moments outside the court, like the time she had the opportunity to talk with a boy who was disabled. “It meant so much to me,” she said. “Getting to interact with people who love the Thunder just like I do. It’s really special. It sounds corny, but it’s true.”
In August of 2010 the Thunder Girls were chosen to be a part of the NBA Madness tour In Taiwan. “Six of the original 20 girls were chosen to go, and I was one of them. We were over there promoting the NBA and getting the Thunder’s name more publicized. We were over there shorter than a week and were treated like royalty! Everyone in Taiwan was so nice to us.”
Hancock admitted that even after all the experience she has gained, she still gets nervous before performing. “I love to perform, I love to dance, but I want it to be perfect,” she said. Once she starts dancing, the rhythm takes over her body and everything falls into place. “It’s breathtaking to be honest.”
Hancock said being a Thunder Girl was not only a dream come true but has also helped her grow as a person. Hancock hopes one day to be able to use everything she learned to help people, especially kids, to exercise and eat healthy. “I want to plant the seed in these kids of how to do things right, how to be healthy, how to not hurt their bodies, just help them so that they can help others,” she said.
Hancock admitted she allows herself from time to time to indulge in her favorite foods: pizza, pasta and ice cream. She said during the summer she loves to hang out with her friends at the lake. She also likes reading, writing and painting. Hancock listens to different types of music but her favorite is country. “I’m definitely an Oklahoma girl,” she joked.
Hancock said she looks up to her older brother Austin, who is currently training to be a firefighter. “He is a really good role model for me in that aspect of having great ambition,” she said. Hancock added she loves her family a lot, and they are definitely the number one priority in her life.