With the whirlwind of excitement that is the NBA, sometimes it’s hard to see the bigger picture.
When Kevin Durant is hitting pull-up three’s to clinch his first title, or when LeBron James is making it to seven straight NBA Finals, or when Kyrie Irving gets traded for Isaiah Thomas, the headlines in the world around us can easily take a backseat.
But over the course of the last week, Hurricane Harvey and the devastation brought on to the state of Texas has been too monumental to overlook.
Rain totals reaching a mind-boggling 51.9 inches as of Wednesday morning have forced families from their homes, taken lives and destroyed nearly everything in the storm’s path. Hurricane Harvey has done its best to drench any inkling of hope those in the affected areas may have.
According to AccuWeather, the price tag of Harvey’s clean up could surpass $160 billion when it’s all said and done. That’s more than three times the amount it took to recover from Hurricane Katrina.
In today’s day in age, where divisiveness seems to be at an all-time high, moments and tragedies like these are when people show their true colors, for better or for worse.
Even with the NBA season right around the corner, the basketball family has been at the forefront of making their impact to help those who are so very much in need.
Houston Rockets owner, Leslie Alexander, initially pledged to donate an astounding $4 million to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that was started by Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner. Upon Alexander’s commitment, the Rockets released the following statement.
“Our hearts are heavy seeing the devastation that so many of our friends, family, and neighbors are experiencing,” Houston announced.
However, following his initial donation and the increased devastation of Houston and the surrounding areas, Alexander decided to up the ante and commit $10 million to the relief efforts.
A donation of that magnitude from a single person is possibly more beneficial than words can describe. From a figure so entrenched in the Houston community who’s helped the Rockets be able to dominate a few news headlines of their own, Alexander is setting the example needed for the NBA community in terms of helping those in need.
And it’s working.
Following Alexander’s announcement, the NBA and NBAPA announced they would pledge $1 million to charities and organizations “including the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, American Red Cross, and other non-profit groups working in the Greater Houston area to bring relief to those impacted.”
New Rockets point guard Chris Paul has pledged to donate $75,000. Clint Capela took to social media to help bring awareness to those who are still in need of assistance.
Tweet me and I'll share as many emergency situations as I can. Stay safe Houston.
— Clint Capela (@CapelaClint) August 27, 2017
A man of his word, Capela shortly began retweeting anything sent his way in terms of the whereabouts of those who were in need of help. While Capela does play his basketball in Houston, he’s a native of Switzerland, and this whole experience is a new world to him.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Capela told ESPN. “I’m from Switzerland, and I’ve never seen this before. So I was just trying to help the people, and I saw that it was working pretty good; my help was really effective. So this is why I started doing this. I’m just showing some love for the city by doing this, by trying to spread the word out and doing whatever I can to help. Just by spreading the word by Twitter that people need to be rescued, that they’re trapped in their houses, stuff like that. A lot of people have been helped in the streets because of that. I just felt that I could have an impact there, and I was really happy to do that. I’m just happy to see how effective it is.”
Capela isn’t the only NBA player who is using the power of social media to lend a helping hand to those in the Houston area. Gerald Green, a Houston native who played with the Boston Celtics last season, posted a video to Instagram asking for help from his followers. Green, who appeared to be driving, asked for access to a boat from anyone that was listening to his video.
“Anybody in Houston right now,” Green said. “Anybody in Houston got a boat? I don’t care what it is man, get at me. I’m trying to help out people in Houston dawg.”
From money donations to tweeting to actually getting out there in the storm, NBA players from all over are pitching in to do whatever they can in order to help. Even some brand new faces in the league are putting aside their preparation for their first NBA season to return home and help those who need it the most.
Sacramento Kings rookies De’Aaron Fox and Justin Jackson, both natives of Houston, have announced that they will return home in September to put on a charity basketball game that will send the proceeds to the relief effort.
— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) August 31, 2017
While the benefit is still in its infancy, and no official details have been announced, just like with Capela and Green, social media is doing its part to spread the word.
sign me up!! https://t.co/zgH7GI9IDJ
— Jordan Clarkson (@JordanClarksons) August 31, 2017
Other Rockets such as Nene Hilario and Luc Mbah a Moute have either donated or are looking to assist directly in the relief efforts down in Houston.
Mbah a Moute, a recent signee of the Rockets, believes that even in tragedies like these, inspiration can be found.
“I can’t wait to get to Houston and assist the relief efforts for the people impacted by the storm,” Mbah a Moute said. “It is inspiring to see the character of those in Houston and the surrounding areas coming together in this time of need.”
While the world of basketball is generally captivated by deep three-pointers or highlight reel dunks, the bond that the community shares with each other and with its fans has allowed those involved to see the bigger picture at the time they needed to the most.
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