Former San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan has largely stayed out of the spotlight after retiring from the NBA, but he penned an article for The Players' Tribune asking fans to help the Hurricane Irma recovery effort in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Duncan said he has already pledged $250,000 and will match contributions up to $1 million:
"I know not everyone can give, and that's O.K.—after all, a lot of you just got done giving financial support to the victims of Hurricane Harvey and the fires on the West Coast. But if you're able, here's what I can promise: Every dollar donated will go directly to relief efforts on the ground. Starting as soon as the weather permits, I'll be chartering an airplane full of supplies from San Antonio to St. Croix, the biggest town in the Virgin Islands. And I'm already busy putting together a team—some from the Virgin Islands and some who will fly in from elsewhere—to help manage the relief effort."
Duncan was born in the Virgin Islands and moved to the United States when he enrolled at Wake Forest University in 1993.
While many residents in Florida have been forced to evacuate in preparation for Irma, the hurricane has already wreaked havoc across the Caribbean. The BBC reported Hurricane Irma's damage totals over $10 billion in the region.
Roderick Faustin, first secretary for the Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda in Washington, D.C., told the Los Angeles Times' Ann M. Simmons "at least 95 percent of the properties in Barbuda are either totally destroyed or damaged."
Rep. Stacey Plaskett, who represents the Virgin Islands in the U.S. Congress, described the islands of St. Thomas and St. John as "pretty devastated" and said they have "had houses slamming into other houses," per USA Today's Fredreka Schouten.
CNN's Jason Hanna and Steve Almasy reported Irma could be a Category 5 hurricane by the time it makes landfall in the Florida Keys and could hit the southern tip of Florida on Sunday.