LaMelo Ball, other ath­letes, aid Aus­tralian wild­fire vic­tims

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS -

MEL­BOURNE, AUS­TRALIA » Top Amer­i­can NBA prospect LaMelo Ball says he will do­nate some of the salary he re­ceives from the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League’s Illawarra Hawks to vic­tims of the wild­fires dev­as­tat­ing east­ern Aus­tralia.

Ball, tipped to be cho­sen in the first round of the NBA draft this year, said he will do­nate one month of his salary, an amount that was not dis­closed.

“It’s sad to see what is hap­pen­ing on the south coast of Aus­tralia,” Ball said in a state­ment Fri­day. “Peo­ple have lost their homes and ev­ery­thing they own. My par­ents taught me to help out wher­ever I can, so this is my way of help­ing out.”

In the two most pop­u­lous states of New South Wales and Vic­to­ria, 18 peo­ple have died and 28 are miss­ing and more than 1,500 homes or build­ings have been de­stroyed in the con­tin­u­ing fires. Con­di­tions are ex­pected to worsen on the week­end.

Ball joins a num­ber of other ath­letes in Aus­tralia who have said they will pledge money to the fire re­lief ef­fort.

Nick Kyr­gios, who is play­ing for Aus­tralia at the ATP Cup team tennis event, said he would do­nate 250 Aus­tralian dol­lars ($140) for each ace he hits dur­ing the tour­na­ment and at the Aus­tralian Open later this month.

Fel­low Aus­tralian team­mates Alex de Min­aur and John Mill­man also said they would con­trib­ute, as did for­mer U.S. Open women’s sin­gles cham­pion Sam Sto­sur. The ATP Cup it­self will also do­nate $100 per ace.

On Fri­day, Tennis Aus­tralia said it would hold a “Rally for Re­lief” ex­hi­bi­tion match at Rod Laver Arena on Jan. 15 fea­tur­ing some of the top play­ers who ar­rive early for the start of the Aus­tralian Open the fol­low­ing week.

Crick­eters Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell, who play in the do­mes­tic Twenty20 league, both pledged 250 Aus­tralian dol­lars for each bound­aryclear­ing six they hit in the com­pe­ti­tion.

“It is spe­cial to see so many ath­letes from var­i­ous sports get­ting in be­hind the real he­roes who are fight­ing to save lives and prop­er­ties around our coun­try,” Lynn tweeted.

Aus­tralia’s test crick­eters will also auc­tion off signed shirts from the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground test against New Zealand.

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