NBA star Kevin Durant, friends with Lynx player Monica Wright since high school, came to Minneapolis on Monday in order to see Wright play for the Lynx in Tuesday’s preseason finale. An earnest advocate for the WNBA, he had come to watch the game, courtside, at Target Center.
And then, Monday afternoon, he turned on the TV and watched what was happening in Oklahoma City, his adopted hometown, where a horrific tornado had ripped through an Oklahoma City suburb of Moore.
“It’s devastating,” Durant said, talking with the media at halftime. “To have it hit so close to home — I call Oklahoma City my home now — it’s tough to go through. But we’re a city that comes together. We’ll bounce back from this. It’s tough right now, but the sun is going to shine soon. We’ve just got to stick together.”
Durant, a star for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, donated $1 million to the Red Cross through his Family Foundation, intended to match other donations and provide incentive for more people to give. The Thunder also gave $1 million, while the NBA and its players union followed suit with a joint $1 million donation.
“God told me to do something to help these families out, and that’s the first thing I thought of,” Durant said. “I’m just trying to do anything I can to help. … Hopefully they get back on their feet.”
Durant said he was hoping to get back to Oklahoma on Wednesday. His plan? “Go to the hospital to see some kids,” he said. “Something to give ’em hope. Playing for the Thunder, we mean so much to the state, I just want to go back and support those people.”
But Tuesday, Durant was courtside, cheering on his friend from their days at different high schools in suburban Washington, D.C. Wright was not surprised to hear of Durant’s donation. “He has a heart of gold,” she said. “Anytime something like this happens he’s the first one to want to help.”