SAN ANTONIO — Retired San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan penned an impassioned plea Friday in the Players’ Tribune for donations toward Hurricane Irma relief efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and by Saturday he’d reached more than half of his $1 million goal.
One of just four players from the U.S. Virgin Islands to have ever appeared in an NBA game, Duncan wrote of the importance of immediate and sustained aid learned from his own experiences in 1989 as a 13-year-old in the wake of Hurricane Hugo, a Category 5 storm. With Hurricane Jose also bearing down, Duncan writes: “Now time is of the essence.”
As one of San Antonio’s most revered figures, Duncan likely won’t have to wait long for help from former teammates such as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, as well as coach Gregg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford. Duncan still works out often with the Spurs at the team’s facilities and even has a locker in the coaches’ room next to vice president of operations Monty Williams.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which battered Houston in late August, the Spurs met as an organization to research the most efficient ways to assist those impacted by the storm, according to sources, and made plenty of contributions that weren’t publicized. So there’s a good chance the Spurs handle this situation similarly.
Duncan promised that every dollar donated will go directly toward relief efforts on the ground in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The forward started off his fundraising effort with a YouCaring account and an immediate $250,000 contribution, while pledging to match all donations up to the first $1 million.
Duncan mentioned he’s in the process of putting together a team to help with managing the relief effort and plans to charter a plane next week full of supplies from San Antonio to St. Croix.
For those unable to make monetary donations, Duncan is accepting physical goods for next week’s flight to St. Croix. Duncan explained how beneficial canned goods were to his family after Hurricane Hugo.
“I lived off that stuff after Hugo. Chef Boyardee was my guy,” Duncan wrote. “A distribution center was set up in our neighborhood, and cans of Chef Boyardee were some of the only meals available to us. Tang was a treat, as well, if they had it in the latest shipment — we’d boil water to make sure it was clean, and then mix in the Tang powder.
“So this week I’ve been thinking a lot about those cans,” Duncan added. “Because they were a godsend. They were like…