(Reuters) - A group of nine Australian players from the National Basketball Association have committed $750,000 towards the relief and recovery efforts amid devastating bushfires in their home country, the league said on Tuesday.
Ben Simmons, Aron Baynes, Jonah Bolden, Ryan Broekhoff, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Joe Ingles, Thon Maker and Patty Mills make up the group that partnered with the NBA and players' association to support organisations across Australia to aid relief efforts and long-term rebuilding projects.
"We are heartbroken over the devastation these fires are causing all across our homeland," the players said in a joint statement.
"Our thoughts are with our families, friends and all of the people of Australia. We hope you feel our love and support and know that we will continue to bring awareness to this crisis globally and provide assistance in any way we can."
Australia's bushfire season started earlier than normal following a three-year drought that has left much of the country's bushland vulnerable to fires.
Thousands of people have been left homeless, while many in rural towns have spent days without electricity and, in some cases, drinking water. Military-coordinated rescue and support efforts are continuing.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)