Words by Jesse Serwer
Photo by Martei Korley
When Hurricane Hugo struck St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, in 1989, Tim Duncan was training to become an Olympic swimmer like his sister, Tricia. The storm destroyed the island’s only Olympic-sized pool in 1989, altering his athletic course. For Duncan, who had never played basketball previously, this meant a path towards becoming a five-time NBA champion, two-time MVP, three-time NBA finals MVP, and 14-time NBA All Star, over two decades with the San Antonio Spurs.
Others were not so lucky. Hugo decimated the St. Croix economy for many years to follow. Some would say the island has still not fully recovered. So when Duncan, now retired, saw the images of Hurricane Irma battering St. Thomas and St. John — St. Croix was largely spared major damage this time — he sprung immediately into action. The typically spotlight-shy superstar — and the USVI’s most famous son — made his voice heard in an impassioned op-ed, and established the 21 US Virgin Island Relief Fund — to which he is matching all donations. Duncan himself has personally flown down and delivered food and supplies to those hardest hit.
As another Category 5 storm, Hurricane Maria, moves through the Caribbean with the Virgin Islands in its path, please do consider making a donation to Tim Duncan’s relief fund. So far, 2. 5 million of a hoped-for 5 million has been raised. We hope none of it will be needed on Maria’s account. And if you prefer to make donations elsewhere, our friends at Uncommon Caribbean have put together this useful guide to hurricane relief efforts.