This story appears in the Sept. 23, 2019, issue of Sports Illustrated.For more great storytelling and in-depth analysis, subscribe to the magazine and get up to 94% off the cover price. Click here for more.
Kings guard Buddy Hield grew up in the Bahamas before going on to star at Oklahoma and make his mark as a pro in Sacramento. So when Hurricane Dorian made landfall, the devastation was more personal for Hield than most. He's since sprung into action, raising money for his homeland and making sure their needs are front of mind.
Sports Illustrated's Dan Greene spoke with Hield about his efforts to help his people recover from the category five hurricane.
Dan Greene: You grew up in the Eight Mile Rock section of Grand Bahama Island—how are your family and friends doing?
Buddy Hield: Everybody's good, just trying to figure out how to start a new life. [I've been in touch] on and off, depending on when they get a signal. Mostly texting.
DG: What's it been like for you to have to follow the news from so far away?
BH: The videos seem unreal until you really get to see [the destruction]. But I know from being there as a kid, when the hurricanes hit, it was never how it used to be [afterward]. When the storms hit, we go back four or five years because the resources aren't there and the hotels aren't making enough money. Everything is pushed back, so we never could get back to where we once were.
DG: How have the fund-raising efforts been going so far?
BH: It's been good. We've raised almost $200,000 through my GoFundMe, and the Kings have also raised $100,000. We're having a fund-raiser where people can buy a table. My mom's gonna come down and cook for them. Then we'll raise money for the [Buddy Hield] Foundation. It's coming along.
DG: Have people been coming to you asking what they can do?
BH: I tell them, do whatever they can do—money, donate clothes or even just share the posts. Whatever you can do to help get the word out about my country.
DG: You mention donating clothes. In addition to money, what would you recommend as the best ways to help out?
BH: Food, whether that's from food stores or wholesalers, or hurricane aid like medicine; all the hurricane relief stuff. Anything that can help people get through a day or a couple of months—[the services of] doctors, physicians, therapists. There are a lot of people still devastated and trying to figure out how they can get through this.
DG: Do you have any plans to go back?
BH: I'm probably going back next weekend. I'll be bringing some supplies that my sister bought. I know a guy from Chicago has donated almost 300 generators. I'll pass out blankets that have been donated. I'll just be telling people to stay strong and doing what I can do to get things back on track.