Miami Heat

This Heat player is giving the shirt off his back to help devastated hometown

Justise Winslow gets a grateful hug on Sunday in his hometown of Houston from one of the youngest members of a Houston-area family that was affected by Hurricane Harvey. Winslow donated $50,000 to a pair of families - that he met with Sunday afternoon - to help them purchase cars to help ease transportation difficulties caused by the storm.
Justise Winslow gets a grateful hug on Sunday in his hometown of Houston from one of the youngest members of a Houston-area family that was affected by Hurricane Harvey. Winslow donated $50,000 to a pair of families - that he met with Sunday afternoon - to help them purchase cars to help ease transportation difficulties caused by the storm. Miami Heat

Justise Winslow loves any chance to go home.

But Winslow said home — in this case the city of Houston — still needs help.

Winslow is one of several pro athletes from the area who are working hard to help Houston get back on its feet as it continues to recover five months after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the city.

“The city was just devastated top and bottom and I think [Rockets guard] Gerald Green did a good job recently on shedding light on how the city is still not back where it should be,” Winslow said. “It’s going to take a collective effort from everybody top to bottom.”

Since late August, Winslow has gotten involved offering financial assistance to those greatest affected.

With the Heat in Houston to face the Rockets on Monday following its win in Charlotte on Saturday night, Winslow is taking some time to visit with a couple of families he recently helped out.

Winslow made a donation of $50,000 to the Small Steps Nurturing Fund which was used to support two families hit the hardest by the storm with the purchase of very low mileage used cars.

Damages caused by the storm have made transportation around the city, which Winslow said is often a difficult task regardless, difficult for those left without a car.

Winslow met with the families at a hotel in downtown Houston during the Heat’s off day on Sunday.

“I’ve been involved with certain organizations and they told me how there were certain families that lost everything,” Winslow said earlier this week. “Houston’s public transportation system is not the best system so just to commute especially without a car is tough so this was something I wanted to do.

“I just felt in my heart that I should give back in some form to those in need. Just helping out those families like I did, I didn’t really want any attention for it, but it was just something I wanted to do.”

Justise Winslow is expected to play on Sunday when the Miami Heat take on the Milwaukee Bucks at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Winslow set up the donation through his foundation, the Robin’s House Foundation, which he established during his rookie season in the NBA and is named in honor of his mother.

“It was really her idea,” Winslow said. “Little things, we did the talent showcase giving young adults and little kids the platform to show off their craft. Just anything, food drives, Thanksgiving activities, helping the homeless.

Winslow, the Heat’s versatile 21-year-old small forward out of Duke University, is part of the growing list of pro athletes including J.J. Watt, Chris Paul and Mike Trout who have raised money for or donated to hurricane victims.

I’ve been blessed to have a lot of clothes and I’ve been going through my closet recently and just giving away anything I really haven’t worn recently.

Justise Winslow, on helping the people of his hometown Houston recover from Hurricane Harvey aftermath

Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area on August 25th and caused an estimated $180 billion in damages in Texas. The storm was estimated, as of mid-December by the Washington Post, to have killed 82 people.

Winslow himself said he had family that was directly affected by the storm.

“[After the storm] I went back and there were parts of Houston that you could barely recognize,” Winslow said. “So I’m just staying involved and staying aware of things in the city that people still need. I’m still trying to help out. I think the city is doing a good job, but people still need help.”

On the court, the season has had its ups and downs for Winslow, who missed 14 games with a strained knee. He returned five games ago and has contributed to the Heat’s solid play over the past month.

The whole time, Winslow’s thoughts have been with his hometown and he’s continued to try to help any way he can.

“I’ve been blessed to have a lot of clothes and I’ve been going through my closet recently and just giving away anything I really haven’t worn recently,” Winslow said. “I’m fortunate I’m at the point now where I like nice things and I like materialistic things, but I understand the value of time and how valuable time is, so really being around my family, those are the most important things and anything I can do to help people out I’ll try.”

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