Former Wake Forest and NBA legend Tim Duncan is asking for help.
Duncan wrote an article in The Players’ Tribune on Saturday, asking people not to forget the Virgin Islands and St. Martin, which were both struck by Hurricane Irma this week and are preparing for the impact of Hurricane Jose.
Duncan has set up the 21 US Virgin Island Relief Fund through the YouCaring crowdfunding site, with a goal of $1 million. Duncan wrote that he’s donating $250,000 to relief efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands and is asking for others to match it. He said he will match those donations, up to $1 million. As of Saturday afternoon, the site had raised $596,164.
Duncan, the No. 1 pick in the 1997 NBA draft who was a center/power forward at Wake Forest from 1993 to 1997 and then with the San Antonio Spurs from 1997-2016, was born in the Virgin Islands.
Duncan recalls living through Hurricane Hugo, a Category 5 storm, as a 13-year-old in 1989. His family had to seek shelter in the family’s bathroom, as the strong winds and rained passed through.
After the hurricane, Duncan wrote, many people were without power for sixth months. Children were not able to go to school for two months. He had to eat canned food and wash himself with a bucket.
“Now that I’m older, I also know how important it is to get relief and to get it quickly – and how easily a small island can be forgotten,” Duncan wrote. “I can’t let that happen again.
Hurricane Jose is currently a Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane Irma was a Category 5 storm when it hit the islands.