As we head into the holiday season in the aftermath of Harvey, many Houstonians cannot commend professional sports teams and athletes enough for their unprecedented efforts to raise money and awareness of various charities throughout the city.
Perhaps the most notable of these efforts came from the fundraising campaign led by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, which ultimately raised $37 million for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
While Watt’s efforts made national headlines, he is not alone among Houston’s pro athletes and their charitable works:
Watt’s teammate, rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, donated his first game check to cafeteria workers at the Houston Texans practice facility who lost their homes during the storm.
Watson also volunteers his time and money to Habitat for Humanity across the state, a charity dedicated to building homes for families in need.
In MLB, Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers, Jr. is known to volunteer at shelters operated by Houston Pets Alive, an animal rescue charity working to remove animals from euthanasia facilities and finding them new homes.
“There’s really nothing like rescuing an animal,” he said in an interview with a Houston newspaper. “It’s so rewarding. They are so so loyal and grateful. I hope we can help make a difference.”
The Astros are also reportedly involved in rebuilding youth baseball fields around the city devastated during the storm.
Twila Carter, the director of the Astros’ charitable foundation, told a Houston newspaper about the team’s efforts to give the next generation of major leaguers a place to play ball:
“We’re looking at youth baseball fields that aren’t a priority for the city or county, because (they’re) focused on getting people back into their houses,” Carter said. “In the Kingwood-area, there were seven fields that were 20-feet underwater and lost all of their infrastructure. I’m focusing on those gaps; 750 kids play on those fields.”
And in the NBA, the Houston Rockets launched their “first shot” giving campaign this season, where local celebrities are invited to take a free throw for charity prior to each home game.
If they make the shot, the Rockets donate $5,000 to a local charity. If they miss, the charity still gets $1,000.
The city’s two soccer franchises, the Dynamo and the Dash, are also said to be frequently involved in charitable efforts, such as donating used equipment to schools and fundraisers for cancer research.
In this season of giving, Houston’s sports teams don’t have an off-season.
A big thanks to all of these athletes and their work for our Crush, Clutch and balling city.