Times are tough in Haiti. Back in August, more than 2,000 people died in an earthquake, a national disaster. A month before, its president was assassinated in his residence and stability for the long impoverished nation seems a long way off.
Now, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reports, James Harden has tried to alleviate some of the suffering.
The nine-time NBA All-Star, through his Impact 13 Foundation, donated approximately 5,000 essential supplies to children in Haiti last week.
Performance apparel such as Adidas backpacks, socks, shoes, water bottles and basketballs as well as personal hygiene products such as Art of Sport deodorant, body wash, lotion, Gopuff tampons, condoms and postpartum undergarments were distributed to more than 300 kids.
Essentials were the only thing the Nets superstar donated. Harden partnered with Foundation Barbancourt in Haiti and local artist Olivier A. Ganthier to supply a new basketball court that features Ganthier’s creative artwork.
“Leading by example is the best way I can inspire others to step up and join the effort to help change lives for the better,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve read about the poverty in Haiti and the disadvantages they face every day, and I want to make sure I am doing my part to help where I can.
“Well, it’s the right thing to do. I wanted to leave something special behind that will last for generations and this court will give kids the opportunity to have a safe place to hoop and will inspire them to chase their dreams of making it to the NBA or WNBA.”
Early Wednesday, Harden tweeted out imagery of the opening of the court…
Put smiles on a few kids in Haiti last week, a feeling I can’t explain!
s/o every one who helped make it possible @artofsport @adidas @gopuff @fondationbarbancourt @impactthirteen @elliotgerald @oligarts pic.twitter.com/q7ESCUiJld
Harden has in the past contributed to relief efforts elsewhere, particularly in Houston where he helped residents recover from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the power failures last winter. So why Haiti, Haynes asked.
“Haiti is a beautiful country with hardworking, resilient people,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “Bringing the game of basketball as well as other resources to Haiti would give the youth more opportunities to have a better life,” said Harden.
“Sports have the power to change lives. I have a friend who has Haitian roots, and his team reached out to let my team know about Foundation Barbancourt and all the amazing work they are doing for their community, so I wanted to get involved.”