Horford, other NBA stars to donate $1,000 per point to Japan relief efforts
Al Horford, right, defends Derrick Rose in a March 11 game. Both men are lending their hoops skills to the Japan relief effort.
March 25th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Horford, other NBA stars to donate $1,000 per point to Japan relief efforts

They say defense wins championships, but beginning Friday night, a handful of NBA stars can champion Japan by breaking down defenses.

For every point they score in select games this weekend, the players will donate a cool grand to Japan's relief efforts. Putting up points shouldn't be a tall order for the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose, the Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol, the Portland Trailblazers' LaMarcus Aldridge, the Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook or the Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford. Each has been averaging between 16 and 25 points all season.

JaVale McGee of the Washington Wizards and Pau's little brother, Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, will also lend their marksmanship to the cause, and 13 other players will donate set amounts.

I caught up with Horford, from my hometown Hawks, after Friday's practice. Let this be a warning, New Jersey Nets: Horford says he's going "to try to be a little more aggressive" in Saturday night's game - and I'm sure you remember he dropped 24 on you when you visited the A-Town in December.

Horford said agent Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group, which represents the athletes, came up with the idea. Horford's teammate Joe Johnson joined Rose, Gasol and Westbrook last year in a similar effort for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

"You don't ever want tragedy to happen anywhere," the 6-foot-10 forward said, "but we have the ability to help out and encourage others to do the same."

Horford said he was heartbroken watching CNN footage from the tsunami's aftermath. It was hard to believe what he was witnessing, he said.

"I know it happened, but it almost seems like it comes from one of those end-of-the-world movies we watch. ... I can't imagine what those people are going through right now."

The donations will go to the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund run by Direct Relief International, which "supports the immediate health needs of people by working with local authorities best situated to assess, respond and prepare for the long-term recovery," according to the nonprofit's website.

The group has already provided money to help displaced people, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, at 20 facilities in the ravaged Miyagi Prefecture.

In a statement, Direct Relief International CEO Thomas Tighe applauded the players' "world-class generosity" and added, "We hope they light up scoreboards this weekend."

Tellem said Wasserman, too, was proud of its players and encouraged anyone wanting to follow the hoopsters' example to send a donation to Direct Relief, which has committed $1.5 million to the relief effort. You can send $10 to the fund by texting "Give10" to 20222.

I always root for my Hawks, and I'll be cheering especially loudly for Horford on Saturday night. Sure, Rose, Westbrook and Aldridge are beasts, but Big Horf has the most favorable matchup. I think he can take them. Go ahead and call me a homer.

Whom do you think will be the weekend's top scorer among these philanthropic ballers? Let us know below.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Basketball • California • District of Columbia • Earthquake • Georgia • Illinois • Japan • Natural Disasters • NBA • Oklahoma • Oregon • Sports • Tennessee • Tsunami • U.S. • World
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Nicole

    While I think it is great that these NBA players are doing this, who has come to the help of the US when Katrina hit or other things happen? We need to help the people here just as much as we need to help other countries.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 2pac

    Where wus dz dudes wen haiti had eartquake? Dat wus our ppls n now dz chinese ppl dyin n now dey wanna give $? Smh

    March 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. angrytaxpayer

    The only reason they are donating the money and doing "charitable contributions" is because they get a huge tax break for doing it, if they weren't they wouldn't give a damn about any of that.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Peter Griffin

    I am betting the over on all the games. I will donate my winnings as well. GO!! ROSE!

    March 25, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 1608

    Boy am I DUMB at first I read NRA

    March 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    Its called strategic philanthropy. Corporations and many top executives do the same thing, and also they would rather help a good cause than give it up to the IRS.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BATMAN

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^I'M BATMAN^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    March 26, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. john K

    It's nice that they want to contribute but honestly it's not all that generous when you think about how much money they actually have. Let's take this guy's boy Horford. He makes roughly 66 grand a game. He wouldn't score 66 points against my mother. He is making 5.5 million this season. His contract is worth 60 mil roughly. That's like me donating 200 dollars.

    March 26, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. Annelise

    I was at the Lakers-Clippers game last night, and Gasol scored 26 points. It was awesome. Everyone in the crowd was cheering for the other players to pass to him. It would be nice if the teams would match their contributions, or if other players would get on board, too.

    March 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mike

    Its great to see some of the nba superstars step up and try to make a diffrence in helping those that need it most at this particular time in this crazy world we reside in..

    March 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MonsterKok11inches

    lame and cheap!
    these guys make millions and cant afford more~!!!
    no wonder everyone hates them!
    also,swm here. hung with 11 inches of uber thick meat for any sf

    March 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MonsterKok11inches

    i will donate $1 for every s k a n k that i bang in the next month
    and if she swallows my baby goo then i will up it to $2

    March 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Angela

    Instead of criticizing all those who could help but not giving enough we can all help by giving financally and by prayer.and be thankful for what we have

    March 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
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