Kings rookies De’Aaron Fox and Justin Jackson showed poise beyond their years Wednesday when speaking about the anguish and heartache gripping their home state.
Houston has been devastated by record floods in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and the ripple effect touches the players who grew up in Houston.
From Golden 1 Center, Fox and Jackson spoke of the Kings’ collective effort to support the region. The team, partnering with some sponsors, raised more than $100,000 for the American Red Cross with more expected in the coming weeks.
Fox can relate to this sort of chaos. He was born in New Orleans “and I have family and friends who went through (Hurricane) Katrina, people who lived with us,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking what’s going on. My family is OK (in Houston) but I know people whose houses are flooded. It’s not a good thing going on there but it’s good that we’re together on this.”
Said Jackson, “To see the devastation going on, we felt we needed to do something. Both of our families are good, not affected like so many others. Anyone devastated by (Harvey) or who has lost loved ones or a house, we’re praying for you.”
The players said they were stunned at the images coming from Houston.
“It’s unbelievable to see highways we’ve driven on under water, to see houses and streets we’ve been on under water,” Jackson said. “If the world looked at how much Houston has come together, no matter what race or religion you are, if the world sees that, and (emulates that), it’s a better world.
“Houston is known for southern hospitality for a reason. Everyone is so nice. Everyone looks out for each other’s best interests.”
The Kings announced some of the proceeds from their opener against Houston on Oct. 18 at Golden 1 Center will go to the Red Cross. Fox and Jackson are organizing a charity basketball game in Houston, featuring Houston-based NBA players, next month.
John Rinehart, Kings president of business operations, said he was impressed with the maturity and charisma of Fox and Jackson during Tuesday night’s River Cats game. The players mingled with fans and spoke about their water-logged city.
“Very impressive,” he said. “It’s always important that we give back to our communities – and those communities where our players are from.”