Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant provided an example Tuesday of why he’s considered one of the model players in the NBA.
Through his foundation, the 25-year-old Durant pledged to donate $1 million to the American Red Cross to help victims of the vicious E-5 tornado that tore through the state Monday.
The perennial MVP candidate and three-time scoring champion has spent the last five years of his career in Oklahoma, and though originally from the Maryland and Washington D.C. area, he calls the Sooner State his home.
"As the day went on and I saw the footage and the casualties and the houses being blown away, it was tough to see," said Durant according to the Associated Press. "I call Oklahoma City my home. I go through Moore all the time. It's unfortunate. We're going to come together as a city like we always do and we're going to bounce back."
Durant’s gesture led the way for a barrage of matching donations from the Thunder, the league, and the player’s union.
The funds will go towards supplies, like food, water, and shelter, to those affected by the 22-mile devastation. Current estimates count 24 dead, and countless homes along with an elementary school destroyed.
Other members of the Thunder went on Twitter to give their prayers and condolences.
Center Serge Ibaka said: @sergeibaka9 Again, pray for OKC... Everybody stay safe!
Veteran guard Ronnie Brewer also said: @RonnieBrewerJr Please pray for the people in OKC. A lot of families lives changed from the tornados aftermath.
While Durant is scheduled to tour the damaged areas Wednesday, NewsOk took this footage of players who visited the OU Children’s Hospital. All-Star guard Russell Westbrook, guard DeAndre Liggins, and reserve center Hasheem Thabeet all joined head coach Scott Brooks, as they tried to the lift the spirits of victims and the hospital staff after the storm.
Another professional athlete affected by the storm is Oklahoma City-native and all-star Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp. He received numerous messages from family and friends back home on Monday, and pledged to donate $1,000 for every home run he hits through the All-Star break.
As reported by MLB.com, Kemp said he remembered a similar tornado in 1999 that killed 36 people when he was 14 years old.
"And this one hit a school," he said. "I know where the schools are. My mom lived in a house in Moore and we gave it to my aunt and uncle. They weren't home today, but they said two blocks away there's nothing left. I've never been through an earthquake, but I've seen what a tornado can do and you just can't even believe it."
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.