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. stevenash

    Who? Wayne gretzky...

    March 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gatorgator

    More than great!!

    March 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kevinsbabydoll

    I'm at a loss of why they wouldn't donate the money to help the US Citizens who are struggling in this country. The United States are always willing to help foreign countries, what about our own people?!!

    March 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Chang

      True, but at least you're not living in radiation right now so stop complaining.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dingo

      @kevinsbabydoll – I bet your IQ is dangerously low.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Some Guy

      That can be your job. 🙂

      March 25, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Are you serious? Because the U.S. didn't just suffer a disaster the size of 4 Katrinas. What an asinine comment.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yosef

      Sorry, you must have missed the relief efforts undertaken for Katrina or the Gulf when the oil spill happened. Every major disaster brings out our sports and Hollywood stars' charitable side.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmie

      NBA players also participate in Make-A-Wish, NBA Cares (volunteer program), hold local charities, donate all the time. Seriously, get a grip.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iron Cross

      What a bunch of idiots. Just keep the money or donate quietly. Don't make a game out of it.
      The only thing that will get BB players off the boitom of dumbest professional athletes is if hockey players do the same thing

      March 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • John B

      Because this country doesn't need financial assistance...we just need jerks like you to stop complaining when our government uses it....toad.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • meh

      your at a loss? Thats what happens when too few brain cells can't work together...

      March 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Just because the donations they made don't make headline news doesn't mean they don't donate.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • kasd

      you are a sad little man.....

      March 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      ur a dummie!

      March 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slade

      KBD, A wise man once told me, "It is better for everyone to think of you as a moron than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." If you can, do. If you are unwilling or able, don't.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • RIBTIP

      Put your money where your mouth is.

      March 26, 2011 at 4:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Todd

    Kevinsbabydoll- Maybe because our country wasn't attacked by an earthquake and all our livelihoods destroyed? Please rot in hell

    March 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. me

    bc they arent facing a national tragedy...

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

    This is aeesome. It nice to see there are big shots out.there who have a heart and don't think of just themselves. Kudos to all.the NBA players involved

    March 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bout time

    Nice gesture but a couple million dollars will not fix the radiation levels.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • David M

      @Bout time: A couple million dollars won't help the radiation levels, but it will make a difference for someone. That's what's important.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dennis2547

    I'm looking for an All-Star kind of scoring slug fest. You know when both sides score say 160 plus points each. And in this case where the main parties (leading scores) score say 40 to 55 points. A career high scoring kind of night would be awesome.
    A retired US Army veteran from NorCAL

    March 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RHD-99999

      Hooah !!!

      March 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      That would be awesome!

      March 25, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Honey

    These gentlemen may not even have a job 6 months from now due to a strike. They could be saving up their money, but instead they are thinking of others and giving. I applaud their generosity!

    March 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deevo

      Yes, I agree very generous, and I applaud them for it. It is a great thing. Just to correct you, though, these are NBA players. It's the NFL that might go on strike, that's all.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • SJ_Martin

      @devoo NBA is also facing a lockout/ work stoppage in the upcoming months as well. There CBa is ending soon. Do people in the trade unions consider these guys part of the brotherhood?

      March 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Deevo, the NBA collective bargaining agreement expires 7/1/2011 and is not likely to be extended without concessions from the players. So actually these guys may be out of a job.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chitown Jason

    MVP vs.anyone > Horford vs. Nets

    Still, hope they all drop 30+ this weekend.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rich

    This is awesome. definately buying D-rose jersey now (in cali)

    March 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LDG Kennels

    That's good to see the NBA palyer r gaving back to help other.......that's how I know there is a GOD!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. yeah

    That is just awesome. Good for them.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Captain_Colossal

    meanwhile lebron james was charging people up to 500k to attend his self glorifying birthday party a few months ago

    March 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. wan2cme

    KUDOS TO THESE STARS, where is all of Hollywood at? Hope they don't need my $10 donation when their homes are destroyed!

    March 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
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