NBA prospect and Illawarra Hawks star LaMelo Ball has pledged to donate a month of his NBL salary to the ongoing firefighting and recovery efforts on the NSW South Coast.
His pledge follows that of several other athletes in Australia, notably tennis star Nick Kyrgios.
Ball, 18, brother of New Orleans Pelicans NBA point guard Lonzo and a likely top five draft pick in 2020, signed with the Hawks in 2019 as part of the NBL’s Next Stars program.
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In a statement released by the club, Ball said the fires raging on the South Coast of NSW, as well as in South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland, had saddened him.
“It’s sad to see what is happening on the South Coast of Australia. People have lost their homes and everything they own. My parents taught me to help out wherever I can, so this is my way of helping out.” - LaMelo Ball#FlyAsOne x #NBL20— Illawarra Hawks (@IllawarraHawks) January 2, 2020
It's sad to see what is happening on the South Coast of Australia," Ball said.
“People have lost their homes and everything they own.
“My parents taught me to help out wherever I can, so this is my way of helping out.”
The teenage NBA hopeful was widely praised for the move, while NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said the league would also be contributing to fundraising efforts.
“I want to acknowledge the contribution made by a number of NBL clubs already to support those affected by the terrible bushfires across Australia,” he said in a statement.
“As a leading sporting code, we have an obligation to support those communities affected and we will announce some further initiatives shortly.”
LaMelo Ball is going to play in Australia for one year but he's going to have Australian fans for a lifetime. https://t.co/gfvwURRSLC— nbabeau (@NBABeau) January 2, 2020
LaMelo Ball has pledged to donate one month of his NBL Salary to help victims of Australia’s devastating bushfires.— Francesca Teh (@frannyteh) January 2, 2020
Must've been raised by some awesome parents! https://t.co/CE81KsxGtg
This kid gets it. And yes there will be the “he is about to get $100M so who cares” people. But he is 18. He has been here for only a few months. He has no obligation to do anything. Yet he is. Just as good off the court as on. #LaMeloBall https://t.co/HfyWOW3WQH— Tim Rosen (@timrosen35) January 2, 2020
This is outstanding from LaMelo Ball! https://t.co/3Ds5ABVEqG— Justin Ahrns (@JustinAhrns) January 2, 2020
Sporting codes unite in support of bushfire efforts
LaMelo Ball isn’t the only prominent athlete in Australia to lend his support to the ongoing bushfire disaster.
Tennis bad-boy Nick Kyrgios is donating $200 for every ace he hits throughout the summer, with fellow Aussie Alex de Minaur to donate $250 for each ace.
As a joke, de Minaur raised the bar for his own donations because "I don't think I'll be hitting as many aces as you mate,” in reply to Kyrgios’ initial pledge.
Fellow Aussie tennis star Sam Stosur has made a similar pledge, while Brisbane Heat slogger Chris Lynn has pledged $250 for every six he hits in the BBL to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.
Hey Guys, for every six I hit in this years Big Bash League I will donate $250 towards the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. It is special to see so many athletes from various sports getting in behind the real heroes who are fighting to save lives and properties around our country 🙏 pic.twitter.com/9MVwNg81GE— Chris Lynn (@lynny50) January 2, 2020
For every ACE I serve over the Aussie summer I’ll donate $200 to the bushfire relief to help raise funds to the families, firefighters and animals who are affected by this disaster. Please join me in any way you can #ausfires #ClimateEmegency #AustralianFires— Samantha Stosur (@bambamsam30) January 2, 2020