NBA, Durant donate $1 million to tornado relief efforts

Posted Tuesday, May. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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NBA Commissioner David Stern opened Tuesday’s press conference at the Draft Lottery by announcing that the Players Association had donated $1 million to the Oklahoma tornado relief efforts.

“Any opening statement should really start with the tragedy that is occurring in Oklahoma, the home of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Stern said. “It’s occupied much of our time.

“Certainly our thoughts and certainly the thoughts of so many of our teams and team owners who have been calling their contacts at the team. We’ve been speaking with [Thunder owner] Clay Bennett on a regular basis.”

Several tornadoes devastated Moore, Okla., on Monday, killing at least two dozen people and leaving Stern to say: “It’s just terrible.”

In addition to the NBA, Oklahoma City All-Star forward Kevin Durant also pledged $1 million to the tornado relief efforts on Tuesday through The Durant Family Foundation.

“I’ve been glued to the TV,” said Donnie Nelson, the president of basketball operations for the Dallas Mavericks. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families and the victims.

“We just literally got through our own tragedy in West, and then our neighbors to the North go through that. It pains you. It literally makes you physically sick. There’s a lot of prayers being sent up Oklahoma’s way.”

Small market final four

Commissioner David Stern took exception to a reporter who questioned if it was a good thing for the NBA that three of the four remaining teams in the playoffs are from small television markets.

Stern corrected the questioners and said: “We have four teams in the lower half of our TV households. It’s not three of the four [teams], it’s four out the four. Miami is 16th.”

The teams still in the playoffs are the Heat, San Antonio, Memphis and Indiana. But Stern doesn’t think the small-market syndrome will affect the TV audience.

“It just goes to show you that if you have good teams people want to watch the interesting teams,” Stern said. “Miami wasn’t defined by the media as a big market until it attracted the players and then it suddenly it became a big market.

“We’re delighted that the best teams are having a great run and our TV partners are also happy.”

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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