In the aftermath of the devastating tornado that tore through Oklahoma City and Moore, Okla., on Monday, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant was one of the first high-profile celebrities to lend a major hand, donating $1 million to regional Red Cross relief efforts in the hope of not only providing immediate aid of his own, but also sparking an outpouring of charitable contributions from others. Durant's leadership spurred responses from the Thunder, which matched his $1 million donation; the NBA and National Basketball Players Association, which combined to do the same; and many other citizens, who had combined to kick in "about $7.5 million as a result of Mr. Durant's gift," according to Emmanuel Bailey, president of the board of the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation.
But, as we noted in Thursday's 10-man rotation, Durant's involvement didn't end with his own checkbook. He toured Moore on Wednesday afternoon, surveying the destruction, meeting with residents still sorting through the rubble of their homes, and doing what little he could — an autograph here, a picture there, a few moments of conversation shot through with apologies and kind words — to brighten the spirits of those affected. As Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman wrote, after speaking with one woman, Durant, "in that moment, turned and walked away as if he wanted to give $1 million more."
So on Thursday, by reaching out to one of his main endorsers, he did.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) May 24, 2013
As the shoe giant describes on its website, Nike will donate $1 million worth of products and apparel to Oklahoma residents affected by the storms. Not only that, the company will devote "profits from Oklahoma City KD V Elites" — a version of Durant's signature shoe that comes in white, tour yellow and photo blue and sells for $180 on Nike.com — sold on the site between May 23 and June 15 to Oklahoma relief efforts.
That Durant gave his own money was generous enough. That he felt compelled to reach out to affected residents personally — and you can watch video of his trip through Moore below — was great, too. But that he continues to use his stature and relationships to continue to make massive contributions to an effort that's going to take an awful lot of time, money and commitment is just remarkable; it's like every time you think Durant's maxed out the degree to which he seems too good to be true, he reaches another level. That's a pretty amazing and rare thing. Oklahoma City's pretty lucky to have this dude as part of the community.
Hat-tip to Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones.