In the wake of this week’s deadly tornadoes, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder are helping out the state that has embraced them so eagerly.
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, reports The Oklahoman NBA beat writer Darnell Mayberry.
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.
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.
“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.
As you can see in the NewsOK video below, that’s exactly what fellow OKC Thunder players Russell Westbrook, Hasheem Thabeet and DeAndre Liggins and Thunder Coach Scott Brooks did Tuesday at OU Children’s Hospital, where they brighten the day of young tornado victims and emergency room staff. Westbrook even did the good deed in a wheelchair, since he’s still recovering from his season-ending knee surgery.
Even if you’re not a sports fans, it’s stuff like this that makes you gotta be a Thunder fan, folks.