After a deadly and unusually cold winter storm battered through Texas and neighboring states, reportedly claiming at least 69 lives, many citizens have been left without basic necessities such as water, food and electricity.
This is how athletes from Texas and beyond have ralled around the state in hopes of alleviating some of the devestation that had led US president Joe Biden to declare a "major disaster" on Saturday.
James Harden’s restaurant gives out free meals
NBA superstar James Harden is one of several athletes rallying around Texas in the midst of the crisis, which hits close to home for Harden, who played for the Houston Rockets for nine years ending in 2021.
Hoping to do his part, the basketball player handed out 3,000 meals through his Houston restaurant, Thirteen, on Saturday, giving those in need the option of pick-up or delivery.
“I’m on calls literally every day. All-day. Trying to impact the city because they showed me so much love and respect during the time I was there. I call Houston my home,” said Harden of the situation.
Myles Turner turns trolling into Texas fundraiser
Indiana Pacers’ star — and University of Austin alum — Myles Turner took a hostile encounter on Twitter and turned into a fundraiser for Texas. After the Pacers lost to the Chicago Bulls on Monday (Feb 15), a fan demanded that Turner pay him $100 through Venmo to compensate for the loss.
Turner ignored the request the first two times, but after the fan sent him a third request, Turner transferred him one cent, saying: “Here’s a penny for your thoughts.”
The situation spiraled. Fans began to Venmo Turner money — sometimes a penny, sometimes much more. Before he knew it, he had hundreds of dollars. He tweeted that he would match whatever money he received and donate it to Texas.
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) jumped on board soon after and said they would also match the amount. By Saturday, the donations had surpassed $12,235.
Dak Prescott teams up with Matthew McConaughey
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott couldn’t turn a blind eye to his hometown — and particularly its homeless population, who are no doubt hit hardest by freezing temperatures.
Prescott, alongside actor Matthew McConaughey, made donations that bought 1,000 meals for the homeless, who are taking refuge at the Dallas Convention Centre.
“Opening an emergency weather shelter for nearly 1,000 homeless individuals in Dallas at the Convention Center has been our most difficult task. But we are thankful and encouraged that @McConaughey and @dak are sending support to purchase meals for the individuals and families,” wrote nonprofit organisation Our Calling on Twitter.
Dallas Mavericks donate $1.25 million
Several members of the Dallas Mavericks — including owner Mark Cuban, CEO Cynt Marshall, coach Rick Carlisle and players Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell — banded together with The Mavs Foundation and their jersey partner, Chime, to donate a total of $1.25 million in emergency funds to those impacted by the devastation in Texas.
Part of the donation will go to the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, which was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and whicn can only be used in the case of a federally declared disaster. On February 14, US president Joe Biden declared a federal disaster due to the winter storm in Dallas.
“I am always touched by the generosity of our owner. When my boss donates $1 million dollars, it encourages the rest of us to show up and give,” said the CEO. “We are heartbroken knowing that there are so many misplaced, hungry and cold Texans in our area and the Mavs and Chime are here to help in any way we can.”
Pierre Desir donates to a city far from home
While many Texan teams and players have dug deep in their pockets to aid a cause close to home, former New York Jets cornerback Pierre Desir donated despite having no connection to Houston. He donated 10,000 meals to a Houston food bank. His agent told ESPN that Desir felt it was “the right thing to do”.
Desir is known for his charitable efforts and has been nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award twice. In 2019, he donated $185,000 to his Missouri high school to help construct a performing arts centre.
John Wall donates food to those sheltering in furniture store
Houston Rockets basketball star John Wall on Thursday donated 600 sandwiches to those who took shelter from the extreme cold at a furniture shop in Houston.
“Mr Wall is making a very generous donation of 600 sandwiches to the people that are sheltering here,” said Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale, the 70-year-old owner of Gallery Furniture, who opened the doors of his local store to those who need shelter.
“I informed his representative that I’ve liked John ever since he played basketball at the University of Kentucky.”
Houston Astros players donate water and meals
Baseball stars Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros have donated a joined $50,000, which amounts to more than 25,000 meals for families in need. “It has been extremely sad to witness our city of Houston suffering from lack of food and water, and so many families with children experiencing cold and hunger,” Correa said.
In addition, third baseman Alex Bregman has donated 18,000 cases of water to the Astros Youth Academy; pitcher Lance McCullers donated $150,000, including 400,000 bottles of water going to the Houston Food Bank, as the city faces a concerning dearth of water.
Quandre Diggs inspires his teammates
Seattle Seahawks star Quandre Diggs teamed up with his girlfriend to donate plates of food to those in need. “Abby and I have contributed 120 plates of chicken fried rice meals from J’s Hibachi for those in need tomorrow between ‘4pm-6pm’ first come first serve!! y’all stay warm + safe!” wrote Diggs on Twitter.
They added another 55 plates at another restaurant. Other Seahawk players, such as cornerback Tre Flowers and linebacker Bobby Wagner, offered to match Diggs’ donation.
Robert Griffin III gives back through his own foundation
Quarterback Robert Griffen III, who grew up in Texas, has donated 10,500 meals to the Houston Food Bank, and another 10,500 to the North Texas Food Bank. This, through his self-titled foundation.
“The foundation will also accept donations from others and steer them toward the effort,” read a statement on the RG3 Foundation website.