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. Kenny

    I see here there are posters that seem to condem these actions by players. Do you people not realize that they do not have to do this? Do you not realize that we as a nation do not have to lift a finger to help any other countries around the world? Do you people not realize that you do not have to be a part of this giving? Well let me help you understand this. You are not required to help. Those that do help are often times not qualified to go there and physically do much of the work that must be done so it is to their advantage to give of themselves, cash to help get the job done to help a people that are need of it. Nothing is forcing anyone to help. It is in our being to help if we so choose so give them a break. If you choose not to provide assistance for whatever reason, please do not condem those that do help.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • NN

      Well said!! Unfortunately, too many haters out there who just love to make others feel as miserable as they do.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • V2 Technologies

      I second that one! Amen! We are ALL brothers and sisters.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy

    This is soooooo awesome! God bless these players, especially Derek Rose, who is a member of....
    DA BULLS!!! 🙂

    March 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. What the?

    That's equivalent of a normal person giving $1 for every point they score.

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


      March 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bout time

      They should donate the money towards keeping the radiation away from America.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • neo

      So I should put you down for a dollar, correct? Probably one dollar more than you will give..

      March 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Eddie

    For the nay sayers, put your money where your mouth is.

    For the players that are doing just that, you make me proud to be in the same country as yourselves.

    For the rest of us, $10 is a drop in the bucket. Please join me in the humanitarian act of extending a hand to those that have lost everything.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bout time

      $10 a drop in the bucket? Of course it is when we are trillions of dollars in debt.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eddie

      Bout time I know your heart's in the right place so pony up the dime already. Some can't do even that much, but I can and will. I have enormous admiration for the players that do the $k/pt. It inspires me to be more generous. I might even watch a game this weekend if I can tear myself away from the SF Giants casts. They've already donated and likely will contribute more.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dr changalang

    Sucky sucky 5 dolla

    March 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Erlinda

    What a lovely gesture and show of humanity.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Not an NBA fan

    I think every player should be doing this. Step up, guys. Show you have more to offer than your egos.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. matt

    I applaud these guys! Good for them.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ki gates

    Amen 2 that they need help we all do!

    March 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Luissalsa1

    NBA players are blessed athletes that know where they came from and help the needy.May God reward them with health and success.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Justin Hurley

    Good for them, and I'm glad they're not supporting the Red Cross.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. g chill

    Iron Cross... you are calling these generous athletes a bunch of idiots. Hey lighten up a little. You always hear why don't they do this anonymously. But the bottom line is that they're giving and it’s good to know about their giving. But I do understand what you’re saying. Oh... by the way. How much have you donated?

    March 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steven Kan

    I applaud the players for making the donations, but to put this context, both Gwen Stefani and Sandra Bullock have donated $1 million each for the relief effort. These two women will probably donate more than all the NBA players combined. And they're much better looking, too.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeffrey McDufskerson

      But can they dunk? No didn't think so.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Flash80

    They are making a spectacle of donating so that they draw attention to it... So other's will donate. Was this point missed on some people?

    March 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john

    self hating...lol...they wouldnt do that for Katrina......well how can you want to help looters and murders.....

    March 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
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