Tim Duncan is a two-time recipient of the NBA’s regular season Most Valuable Player Award, three-time NBA Finals MVP, and he’s been named to the NBA All-Star team 15 times while racking up five championship trophies. But since the man regarded in some circles as the best power forward in NBA history rarely gave interviews and dressed as if he’d just discovered the Enyce collection on a discount rack at Ross, he doesn’t get the fanfare of some of his peers.
The usually withdrawn Duncan broke character in hopes of bringing awareness to the fact that the U.S. Virgin Islands were ravaged by Hurricane Irma, as Hurricane Jose looms.
Friday, the Player’s Tribune published an open letter from Duncan—a native of St. Croix—requesting readers join him in donating to the U.S. Virgin Islands, which took some of the initial damage from Hurricane Irma earlier this week.
“Coach Pop has always been a ‘say less, do more’ kind of person, and I’ve always admired that in him and tried my best to follow his example,” Duncan said, in regards to his reclusive nature. “But Pop also knows when it’s time to talk, so in that spirit I want to take a moment to tell you why my home is so special, and why it needs your help so urgently right now.”
Duncan pledged to match all donations dollar for dollar up to the first $1 million while also promising to donate $250,000 as soon as his letter was published. Additionally, he drew on his own experience surviving Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
“Hugo crippled the economy,” Duncan wrote. “People lost their businesses. Food prices went way, way up. For the next six months, parts of the island didn’t have power, and school was canceled for almost two months. We had to boil water to drink or cook.”
According to a report by the Associated Press, at least 22 people have died in the Caribbean Islands as a result of Hurricane Irma. Barbuda has officially been declared uninhabitable, with the main hospital in St. Thomas completely destroyed.