Hurricane Harvey continues to bring out the very best in pro athletes and their wealthy team owners.
As Houston and south Texas endure biblical flooding and more than 50 inches of rain, the Houston Rockets have pledged $10 million to aid relief efforts. Rockets owner Les Alexander reportedly raised his initial promise of $4 million to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund Tuesday.
“Our hearts are heavy seeing the devastation that so many of our friends, family and neighbors are experiencing,” the Rockets said in a statement.
Retired Rockets star Yao Ming took to Twitter to send his love to Houston: “My thoughts are with the people of Houston today. Wishing everyone wellness and safety. Stay safe and stay strong Houston.”
The Houston Astros also pledged $4 million. The Astros’ series against the Rangers this week was moved to Tampa because of the flooding.
The Astros pledge comes in addition to the $1 million contributions promised Monday by the NFL’s Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and the NFL Foundation. The Jets are also contributing $1 million to the Red Cross, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.
The preseason game scheduled for Thursday night in Houston between the Texans and Cowboys has been moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Texans have dedicated their upcoming season to Harvey victims. According to reports, as many as 80 percent of storm victims do not have flood insurance.
Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are also donating $1 million to the Red Cross.
In addition to Houston’s pro sports franchises, local athletes have also joined the relief effort.
Houston Texans star J.J. Watt has taken the lead among players in helping to raise money for the storm-ravaged city. After quickly surpassing initial goals of $500,000, then $1 million, within 24 hours, on Tuesday he raised the target to $2 million. That figure was raised to $3.5 million after Watt announced he had raised $4 million by mid-afternoon Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning the fund hit $5 million, and Watt increased the goal to $6 million. By Wednesday evening, after receiving a $1 million donation from Walmart on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Watt had raised more than $8.5 million and counting.
Rockets guard Chris Paul also pledged $50,000 to Watt’s effort to help storm victims.
St. Louis Cardinals player Matt Carpenter, who is a Houston native, announced he will contribute $10,000 for each home run he hits the rest of the season. Jerry Hughes of the Buffalo Bills, who is also from Houston, is planning to donate $25,000 to his hometown relief efforts.
According to reports, more than 1 million properties have been damaged by floods since the storm hit over the weekend. In 2012 when Superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast, the storm caused more than $70 billion in damages.
Harvey’s destruction is being estimated at $30-40 billion, according to reports, which would make it the fourth-worst storm of all time.