Potential No. 1 NBA draft pick LaMelo Ball has thrown his support behind the victims of Australia's bushfire crisis, pledging to donate one month of his NBL salary.
With fires raging across Australia and threatening to do further damage through the summer, the Illawarra Hawks youngster stated: "It's sad to see what is happening on the south coast of Australia. 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."
Ball moved to Illawarra to play with the Hawks as part of the NBL's Next Stars program and has performed strongly, although he is currently out with a foot injury sustained in December.
Ball joined a growing number of Australian and international athletes who have pledged to do what they could to support those affected by bushfires, including tennis stars Nick Kyrgios and Sam Stosur, and Big Bash cricketer Chris Lynn.
Hey Guys, for every six I hit in this years Big Bash League I will donate $250 towards the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. 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 🙏 pic.twitter.com/9MVwNg81GE— Chris Lynn (@lynny50) January 2, 2020
For every ACE I serve over the Aussie summer I'll donate $200 to the bushfire relief to help raise funds to the families, firefighters and animals who are affected by this disaster. Please join me in any way you can #ausfires #ClimateEmegency #AustralianFires— Samantha Stosur (@bambamsam30) January 2, 2020
Earlier, Tennis Australia said plans were in place to support those impacted by the country's bushfires after Kyrgios' proposal for a charity exhibition match to raise funds ahead of this month's Australian Open gained rapid support.
The world No. 30 posted his idea to Twitter late on Wednesday and by Thursday afternoon the concept was gathering pace.
"The more exposure it gets I think we have the potential to do something pretty special there," Kyrgios told media ahead of the inaugural ATP Cup, where he'll represent Australia in Brisbane from Friday.
"All the heartbreak this summer; it's pretty tragic what's going on, especially with my hometown, Canberra, being under a bit of smoke, the most hazardous smoke in the world at the moment.
"To see Canberra like that, it's pretty tough to see."
Kyrgios later tweeted that he would donate $200 for every ace he hit this summer while Australian teammate Alex de Minaur responded saying he'd go to $250 per ace because "I don't think I'll be hitting as many aces as you mate."
On Thursday morning Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said the public should "stay tuned" for the announcement of a number of initiatives, beginning at the inaugural ATP Cup to be played between Sydney, Perth and Brisbane from Friday.
Many of the game's headline acts, including world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic, are in Australia to play in the newly-minted teams event ahead of the year's first grand slam at Melbourne Park.
Australian ATP Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said the Australian Open's status as one of the country's biggest events meant they had a platform to provide significant support.
"Christmas and the new year should be a happy time for these families and lots of these people are doing it pretty tough out there," he said.
"So I think all of us feel like we would like to help in some way."
The deadly fires continue to burn across the country and Tiley said Tennis Australia "wanted to help these communities in a meaningful way".
"For weeks we've been watching the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia and the people affected are constantly in our thoughts," he said.
"We ... will announce a number of fund raising and support initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks.
"Stay tuned for further announcements."