Athletes continue aid efforts

Posted: Friday, September 09, 2005

LeBron James helped load four tractor-trailers with diapers, school supplies, food and other items for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ star spent about $120,000 in two hours Thursday at a Sam’s Club warehouse store in Fairlawn, Ohio, near his hometown of Akron. The goods will be sent to Houston, Louisiana and Mississippi.

‘‘He just thought he had to from the heart, decided that this is what he had to do,’’ James’ mother, Gloria James, said as forklifts behind her moved cases of items onto the trucks. ‘‘And here we are.’’

James bought ‘‘everything from diapers right on down to school supplies,’’ said the Sam Club’s Christina Knox. ‘‘This is a lot of what they need right now.’’

The 20-year-old James also plans to join Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and other top NBA players for a charity game in Houston on Sunday.

In other Katrina developments:

—The NFL has designated the second week of its season as ‘‘Hurricane Relief Weekend,’’ which will culminate with a fund-raising telethon that will be part of ABC’s ‘‘Monday Night Football,’’ commissioner Paul Tagliabue said.

Under the theme of ‘‘Recover & Rebuild,’’ the NFL, its clubs, network television partners — ABC, CBS, ESPN and FOX — and sponsors will use the Sept. 18-19 games to raise funds and bring attention to the massive needs of the Gulf Coast region.

‘‘The Gulf Coast and our entire nation face extraordinary challenges,’’ Tagliabue said. ‘‘We will continue to do our part to contribute to the recovery and rebuilding process. The weekend of what should have been the Saints’ first home game in New Orleans this year is an appropriate time for a special leaguewide effort to focus on the restoration of the Gulf Coast.’’

—Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay donated $100,000 and bidders offered another $26,000 for jerseys, helmets and footballs autographed by Peyton Manning as part of a radio auction. Including the donation by Irsay, the Colts said the five-hour auction on WFBQ drew more than 5,000 calls and raised $311,975.

‘‘It was an amazing event,’’ said Tom Zupancic, the Colts’ senior vice president of business development. ‘‘An unbelievable outpouring of generosity from throughout the country enabled us to provide some relief for the people who are suffering.”

—The Miami Heat and NBA champion San Antonio Spurs will play Oct. 10 in an extra exhibition game to raise money for Katrina relief. The Heat will donate all proceeds from ticket sales, concessions, parking and retail sales to the American Red Cross.

‘‘We as an organization will do just about anything to supply comfort, compassion, money and anything else we can to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina,’’ Heat president Pat Riley said.

—Chicago Bulls guard Chris Duhon, whose hometown of Slidell, La., was ravaged by the hurricane, has organized three supply drives in the Chicago area.

Emergency items such as hygiene products, toiletries, bottled water, nonperishable food items, new clothing, new shoes and baby products will be collected. The donations will be transported to Slidell by moving vans and coordinated in conjunction with Slidell Mayor Ben Morris.

—PGA Tour star Vijay Singh and wife Ardena have donated $75,000, with $50,000 going to the American Red Cross and $25,000 to the United Way of New Orleans.

‘‘This is a time when we all must come together to support the relief efforts of these people in need,’’ Singh said.

—The Mississippi State-Tulane football game Sept. 17 will be played in Shreveport, La., Mississippi State officials said Thursday. The game was originally scheduled to be played at the Superdome in New Orleans. Mississippi State said it will forgo its $200,000 guarantee to help Tulane’s athletic department in its attempt to overcome the budget shortfall resulting from the relocation of its athletic programs.

—Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and the Los Angeles Angels’ Vladimir Guerrero will donate $50,000 each. The Dominicans hope other major leaguers will join them.

‘‘The United States has provided my family and me with more than we could have ever dreamed,’’ Ortiz said. ‘‘I’ll never forget the way Red Sox fans and the team’s owners helped my country after the floods last year.’’

Red Sox fans have given nearly $185,000 to the Red Cross in six days.

—The Boston Celtics will team up with Habitat for Humanity International to help rebuild homes. The Celtics’ players, owners, coaches and staff will match each donation made through the team’s Web site —

—Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will donate $50 to the Red Cross for every passing yard and $250 for each TD pass Sunday in the Steelers’ opener against Tennessee. The Steelers’ autograph party Tuesday at Heinz Field raised $113,000. All-Pro Alan Faneca, a former LSU said, stayed for the entire four-hour session.

—The Tennessee Titans will host an eight-hour blood drive in the club area of The Coliseum on Sept. 17. Fans are encouraged to bring cash or nonperishable food for the Second Harvest Food Bank, which is helping area shelters. Volunteers will collect money before the Titans’ home opener against Baltimore on Sept. 18.

—The San Diego Padres said they collected $47,252 at the gates Wednesday night and $250,000 from the Linden Root Dickinson Foundation for a total of $297,352 that will be given to the Red Cross. The Padres also will raise money at a ‘‘Beat LA’’ pennant push event Saturday, when fans can watch the team’s road game against the Dodgers on the video board at the Park at the Park, just beyond the outfield at Petco Park. An online auction will continue through Oct. 3.

—The University of New Orleans baseball team, displaced by Hurricane Katrina, will be based at New Mexico State this fall. New Orleans’ men’s and women’s basketball teams will be based at the University of Texas at Tyler, the track teams at LSU in Baton Rouge and the men’s golf team at LSU at Shreveport.

—The Oakland Athletics raised $103,153 for the American Red Cross during their recent six-game homestand. The majority of funds were raised through fan donations, in addition to a contribution by the A’s Community Fund, a live postgame dugout auction and the sale of A’s autographed baseballs sold by the players’ wives.

—The Westminster Kennel Club donated $20,000 to agencies in Louisiana and Texas to help recover and shelter lost pets.

—The Houston Texans are asking fans who can’t make it to the home opener Sept. 18 against the Pittsburgh Steelers to donate their tickets to hurricane refugees.

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