Thunder F Kevin Durant yesterday in response to the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma "anonymously pledged" a $1M donation to the American Red Cross through his charity, the Kevin Durant Family Foundation, according to Brandy McDonnell of the OKLAHOMAN. Durant's donation comes a day after "encouraging his fans to make $10 donations" to the disaster relief group. Red Cross of Oklahoma announced Durant’s pledge on Twitter. The Thunder and the Thunder Cares Foundation later "announced a joint donation" of $1M to benefit the local chapters of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army as well. Durant said, "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 today is scheduled to join the American Red Cross to "tour the devastation" in Moore, Okla. Thunder G Russell Westbrook, C Hasheem Thabeet, G DeAndre Liggins and coach Scott Brooks yesterday helped "brighten the day of young tornado victims and emergency room staff" at OU Children's Hospital (OKLAHOMAN, 5/22). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said of Durant's donation, "That's heroic. People use the word too frequently. This is heroic" ("PTI," ESPN, 5/21). Meanwhile, the NBA and the NBPA yesterday announced that they also will contribute $1M to support relief efforts in Moore. The two organizations will join the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other disaster relief agencies that are mobilizing their resources to support the recovery and rebuilding efforts (NBA).
STEPPING UP, PITCHING IN: Dodgers CF Matt Kemp on Monday wrote on his Twitter feed, "I'm giving $1000 for tonight's HR and every HR until the All-Star break for the victims of my hometown in OKC. #PrayforOklahoma" (TWITTER.com, 5/20). Tigers RF Torii Hunter yesterday tweeted, "I will join my Lil bro @TheRealMattKemp in his efforts to raise money for the victims in Oklahoma. I will donate $1000 for every HR I hit" (TWITTER.com, 5/21). USA TODAY's Laken Litman reports the West Virginia Univ. baseball team, already in Oklahoma in preparation for the Big 12 Tournament, yesterday went to Walmart where players were "told they had $100 apiece to spend on necessities, and they filled up carts with clothes, shoes, flashlights, batteries, mattresses and more" to bring to Moore residents. The team "headed to Norman, Okla. -- where many displaced victims were temporarily relocated" -- to deliver supplies. There also has "been discussion that all proceeds from the tournament go toward tornado relief" (USA TODAY, 5/22). GOLFCHANNEL.com's Jason Sobel reported golfer John Peterson, who has relatives who live in Moore, will "donate $500 for each eagle he makes and $100 for each birdie" at this week's PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 5/21). In Tulsa, John Hoover reports the Tulsa Double-A Texas League Drillers today will announce plans for an "up-front donation of $10,000, plus auctions during upcoming games for memorabilia from the Drillers and parent club" the Rockies (TULSA WORLD, 5/22).
TAKING PRECAUTIONS: ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported NFL teams located in "Tornado Alley" -- the Cowboys, Chiefs and Rams -- "all have plans where their employees, not just their players, know where to go in a building in case of a tornado." Mortensen: "But let's face it, how do you plan for 200 mph-plus winds or an E5 tornado? But they do review those with their employees and these are, unfortunately, painful reminders" ("NFL 32," ESPN2, 5/21).