The details coming out of the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan continue to grow more and more harrowing; according to the latest official report, over 5,000 people have lost their lives in the devastation. Another 23,501 were injured by the massive storm, and 1,613 are reported missing. 3 million people have been displaced, having lost their homes. It’s truly a horrific story, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of the Philippines.
The nation has always had a special relationship with basketball; one of the enduring images after the storm is of a makeshift basketball hoop, constructed in a clearing amid piles of debris. While the sport cannot begin to rebuild the Philippines, those who play, coach and watch the game have done what they can to help in the relief efforts.
Los Angeles Laker Pau Gasol is offering assistance to the tune of $24,000 after pledging to donate $1,000 for every point he scored in Friday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors, and his former coach, Phil Jackson, will donate an additional $1,700 after taking to twitter and offering to donate $50 for every point and rebound from Gasol (as well as $1,000 for every charge drawn, though unfortunately, Gasol was unable to make that a reality). Such generosity, in turn, inspired a thread on social news website Reddit.com where basketball fans of all teams pledged to donate varying amounts based on various outcomes from the same game. Through their kindness, they raised over $4,000 in addition to the donations by Gasol and Jackson.
It’s an incredible display of kindness from one basketball-loving community to another in a time of great distress for the Philippines, an indication of the global reach of the game and the heartfelt connection among all of its fans. Good on all those who have donated their time and resources to helping rebuild after the devastation. There’s talk from some in that same thread of doing the same on Sunday, so if you have the means to donate, please make a pledge of your own. You can also donate directly to Gasol’s fundraiser with UNICEF here.