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OKC Thunder, Kevin Durant donate to tornado relief efforts

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: May 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm •  Published: May 21, 2013

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder are doing what they can to help.

Both the team and its star player on Tuesday stepped up and donated $1 million apiece to assist with disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of this week's tornadoes that blew through parts of the state.

Durant, a day after encouraging his fans to make $10 donations to the American Red Cross, anonymously pledged a $1 million matching gift to the organization through his charity, the Kevin Durant Family Foundation.

Red Cross of Oklahoma announced Durant's pledge on the social networking website Twitter.

“It's devastating,” Durant told reporters in Minneapolis, where he watched the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx and childhood friend Monica Wright. “Natural disasters are something we can't control at all. To have it hit so close to home — I call Oklahoma City my home now — it's tough to go through. But we're a city that comes together. We'll bounce back from this. It's tough right now but the sun is going to shine soon. We've just got to stick together.”

Durant is scheduled to join the American Red Cross on Wednesday to tour the devastation left by Monday's tornado that ripped through Moore. Durant said he was moved to assist in efforts after watching footage of the damaged areas.

“God told me to do something to help these families out and that's the first thing I thought of,” Durant said of his donation. “I'm just tying to do anything I can to help. It's such a tough situation. Some of those things you can't get back. But I just try and help the families out as much as I can.”

Durant said he also will attempt to visit children who are hospitalized because of injuries caused by the tornado.

“Tornadoes come through Oklahoma City all the time,” Durant said. “Sometimes it's kind of like routine. I thought it was a small one because the small ones do hit in Oklahoma City around this time. But as the day went on (Monday), I saw the footage and the casualties, the houses being blown away. It was tough to see.”

Shortly after news of Durant's donation spread, the Thunder and the Thunder Cares Foundation announced a joint donation of $1 million to benefit the local chapters of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army as well.

The joint donation also will aid other disaster relief organizations to assist in efforts for those affected by the tornado outbreaks in central Oklahoma this week.

All funds will be used to give direct and immediate support for those in need, covering essentials such as food, water and shelter in the days and weeks to come.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the devastation that has occurred within our community this week,” Thunder chairman Clay Bennett said in a statement. “We are focusing Thunder resources to help where we can in the relief efforts and to support the organizations that are on the ground assisting those affected by this week's storms.

“Even with so much loss, the strength and resiliency of this community have once again been on display, and we will continue to work together as our community and state recover from this disaster.”

Thunder center Kendrick Perkins also chipped in Tuesday, teaming up with his wife, Vanity, and Anthony David Platinum, a local salon, to accept donations for victims.

The NBA and NBA players association on Tuesday afternoon also announced a $1 million contribution to support relief efforts in response to the tornado destruction. Various other players and team personnel of the Thunder, WNBA's Tulsa Shock and the NBA D-League's Tulsa 66ers also plan to continue to provide local support by assisting in on-the-ground relief efforts.

“I call Oklahoma City my home,” Durant said. “I love the state. I love Oklahoma City. I go through Moore all the time. It's unfortunate, but we're going to come together as a city like we always do and we're going to bounce back.”

To donate to the Red Cross, visit, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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