Sports

Canadian basketball star Kia Nurse donating to Australia wildfire relief efforts

Canadian basketball star Kia Nurse is stepping up to help those affected by the wildfires currently raging through Australia.

Tennis star Nick Kyrgios, NBA prospect LaMelo Ball also make contributions

Canadian Kia Nurse said she will donate $5 for every point her Women's National Basketball League team scores over the next five games. Nurse plays for the Canberra Capitals in the eight-team Australia-based league. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Canadian basketball star Kia Nurse is stepping up to help those affected by the wildfires currently raging through Australia.

Nurse said on Twitter that she will donate $5 for every point her Women's National Basketball League team scores over the next five games. Nurse plays for the Canberra Capitals in the eight-team Australia-based league.

"Australia has been my home away from home for the last 2 years thanks to the WNBL," said Nurse, adding the money will be split between the Salvation Army Australia and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

"The devastation from these ongoing fires here in Australia is so heart breaking," Nurse, who plays for the New York Liberty during the WNBA season, said in an earlier tweet. "In Canberra we are under a constant cover of smoke and I can't even imagine what it is like for all of those evacuating sending prayers to all affected ... stay safe."

WATCH | Kia Nurse on why she is donating money for wildfire relief:

The Canadian basketball player talks about her experience with the wildfire disaster in Australia. 5:57

Teammate Kelsey Griffin and her wife Erin pledged to match Nurse's donation through Erin's Twitter account.

The Capitals lost 94-90 to the Bendigo Spirit on Friday in the opening game of Nurse's pledge. Nurse had 17 points in the game.

Ball donating portion of salary

Top American NBA prospect LaMelo Ball says he will donate some of the salary he receives from the National Basketball League's Illawarra Hawks to victims of the wildfires devastating eastern Australia.

Ball, tapped to be chosen in the first round of the NBA draft this year, said he will donate one month of his salary, an amount that was not disclosed.

"It's sad to see what is happening on the south coast of Australia," Ball said in a statement Friday. "People have lost their homes and everything they own. My parents taught me to help out wherever I can, so this is my way of helping out."

In the two most populous states of New South Wales and Victoria, 18 people have died and 28 are missing and more than 1,500 homes or buildings have been destroyed in the continuing fires. Conditions are expected to worsen on the weekend.

Kyrgios' pledge

Nick Kyrgios, who is playing for Australia at the ATP Cup team tennis event, said he would donate 250 Australian dollars for each ace he hits during the tournament and at the Australian Open later this month.

Fellow Australian teammates Alex de Minaur and John Millman also said they would contribute, as did former U.S. Open women's singles champion Sam Stosur. The ATP Cup itself will also donate $100 US per ace.

"It's tough," Kyrgios said, choking back tears and wiping his face with his towel in an on-court interview. "[The money raised] is going to the families, fire fighters, animals, everyone who is losing homes, losing family — it's a real thing. It's bigger than tennis, you know.

"It's tough to go out there and concentrate on tennis, to be honest. Every ace I was hitting that's all I was thinking about. Every time I stepped up to the line that's all I was thinking about."

On Friday, Tennis Australia said it would hold a "Rally for Relief" exhibition match at Rod Laver Arena on Jan. 15 featuring some of the top players who arrive early for the start of the Australian Open the following week.

Cricketers Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell, who play in the domestic Twenty20 league, both pledged 250 Australian dollars for each boundary-clearing six they hit in the competition.

"It is special to see so many athletes from various sports getting in behind the real heroes who are fighting to save lives and properties around our country," Lynn tweeted.

Australia's test cricketers will also auction off signed shirts from the Melbourne Cricket Ground test against New Zealand.

With files from The Associated Press

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