August 31, 2017

Kanter gives $25K to Harvey relief

Like numerous athletes across sports, Enes Kanter saw the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and felt compelled to contribute.

But the outspoken Thunder center didn't just want to send prayers or thoughts through social media to the areas of southeast Texas ravaged by the storm. Kanter wanted to do more.

“Words on Twitter really cannot help those people who need help,” Kanter told The Oklahoman from Chicago on Tuesday.

“I see everyone commenting on social media. There's nothing wrong with that, but we need action.”

On Tuesday, Kanter — in partnership with the Raindrop Turkish Cultural Center of Houston — donated $25,000 to Embrace Relief, a nonprofit organization that focuses on humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

While Harvey decreased to a tropical storm after hitting land on Saturday, its movement slowed, then stalled and dumped inches upon inches of rain on southeast Texas. As of Tuesday afternoon, 13 storm-related deaths had been reported. The National Weather Service said Tuesday that Harvey set a record in the continental United States for total rainfall from a single tropical storm — more than 48 inches.

Areas of Houston reported more than 30 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service, which has led to severe flooding in the nation's fourth-largest city.

The Thunder is all-too familiar with Houston. The Rockets eliminated the Thunder in the first round of the 2017 NBA playoffs, and the two teams open preseason against each other Oct. 3 in Tulsa.

Competition has taken a backseat to compassion in the six days the Houston area has been slammed by Harvey.

Kanter, who's gained notoriety across the league for not only his elite offensive skills but his outspokenness on social media, didn't want to sit idly. In May, he used Twitter to inform the world of his travel plight, his Turkish passport being canceled while overseas.

Harvey pressed him into action beyond a video. Similar to Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who had raised nearly $2 million through an online fundraising campaign, Kanter wanted to support a campaign to help the victims of Harvey.

Texas' professional teams, athletes and team owners have been active in the flood relief. The Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans donated $1 million to the flood relief. The Astros ownership group and foundation pledged $4 million. According to the Houston Chronicle, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander told Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner he'll increase his initial donation from $4 million to $10 million. Rockets guard Chris Paul donated $50,000 to Watt's fundraiser.

Kanter started with his own money and awaits the results from donations to And he followed by asking social media to “help me to help others.”

“It doesn't matter who's campaign it is,” Kanter said. “All that matters is to help people.”

Published on The Oklahoman, 30 August 2017, Wednesday