'My way of helping': American star's incredible gesture for Aussie bushfire victims

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

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," 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.

NBL star and NBA prospect LaMelo Ball has announced he will donate a month of his salary to firefighting efforts. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“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.” 

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.