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Fri Sep 15, 2017, 05:45 PM

Tim Duncan Pledges To Donate One Million Dollars To Hurricane Irma Relief

Tim Duncan was 13 years old when he experienced his first hurricane on his home island of St. Croix. Its name was Hugo, a category 4 hurricane that damaged or destroyed 90 percent of the island’s buildings, injured 80 people, and claimed two lives before flaring up to Puerto Rico and eventually blasting through North and South Carolina.

So there was no hesitation when Duncan, a retired five-time NBA champion and sure fire Hall of Famer, dropped his things and assisted in relief efforts after Hurricane Irma — which ravaged Florida and other parts of the southeast — devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands last week.

“I just remember all the experiences of going through it — not only the storm but the aftermath,” Duncan recalled in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN. “Knowing that and knowing what we needed on the island at that time, I knew I wanted to step in and help now, make sure the island could get back on its feet, the people could get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

“And if I can do a little bit of that by starting a relief fund and being down here and bringing the supplies, I’m happy to do that.”

What has Tim Duncan done for the Virgin Islands?
Just like James Harden, J.J. Watt, and several other professional athletes and teams who raised money and awareness for Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Duncan has spearheaded efforts to help restore the Virgin Islands after Irma — a category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds up to 160 miles per hour — blew through St. John, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Barthelemy, and parts of Anguilla.

“The island’s pretty messed up,” Duncan said of St. John. “Lots of trees and debris. Lots of homes without roofs, and a lot of them just totally blown away. A lot of destruction over there, but a lot of people out and working to clean up everything. A lot of people with very positive attitudes ready to start the rebuilding process.”

On Sept. 9, Duncan published a story on The Players’ Tribune titled “Don’t Forget About the Islands,” where he announced an immediate $250,000 donation and a pledge to match the first $1 million donated to his Virgin Island Relief Fund. He also described his experience enduring Hurricane Hugo in 1989:

“Hugo hit at night. The first thing I remember is a loud boom from the windows blowing out of our house. My mother and sister burst into my bedroom and led me by the hand into another room. We spent the rest of the night sitting in a small bathroom, our eyes wide open. None of us could sleep. We heard the bangs and booms of debris. Once in a while, I’d peek down the hallway at my dad, who was watching our ceiling. One of the beams had a crack in it, and the crack slowly grew bigger throughout the night. I think my dad was praying.”
Duncan made a similar plea for help in video form for NBA TV:

So far, the former Spurs All-Star has raised more than $2.4 million via his relief fund. (You can donate to his fund here.)

On Sept. 14, Duncan and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg traveled to the island of St. Thomas. Duncan and Mayor Bloomberg held a joint press conference in St. Thomas, reiterating that the Virgin Islands are part of the United States and pledging to do everything they could do help relief efforts.


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