The 76ers’ Ben Simmons and Jonah Bolden are among nine NBA players from Australia who have partnered with the National Basketball Players Association Foundation and the National Basketball Association to pledge a total of $750,000 toward relief and recovery efforts from the devastating bushfires in the region.
The other NBA players are Aaron Baynes (Phoenix), Ryan Broekhoff (Dallas), Matthew Dellavedova and Dante Exum (Cleveland), Joe Ingles (Utah), Thon Maker (Detroit), and Patty Mills (San Antonio).
The fires, which have been raging since September, have killed at least 26 people and destroyed 2,000 homes, according to the Associated Press.
Simmons and Bolden were unavailable for comment after Wednesday’s practice, but the situation is close to coach Brett Brown’s heart.
He lived in Australia while coaching there for 17 years, and he met his wife there. Brown will be coach Australia’s men’s national team at the Tokyo Olympics. He said his wife’s family owns farmland between Adelaide and Melbourne that were near the fires.
“My wife’s [family] farm is 10 minutes away, 10 kilometers away from if the wind changes or doesn’t, and we lived through that for a 48-hour period in our own family,” Brown said after Wednesday’s practice as the Sixers prepared for Thursday’s home game against the Boston Celtics.
Brown added that he isn’t surprised the Australian NBA players are contributing to the relief effort.