CHARACTER COUNTS

Suns’ Deandre Ayton hosts fundraiser for Hurricane Dorian relief

Sep 23, 2019, 9:34 PM | Updated: Sep 24, 2019, 3:23 pm

(Twitter photo/@ShaquinAlbrow)...

(Twitter photo/@ShaquinAlbrow)

(Twitter photo/@ShaquinAlbrow)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — In his latest efforts to support his home country of the Bahamas after the effects of Hurricane Dorian, Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton hosted a fundraiser at Scottsdale’s Ocean 44.

Ocean 44 will donate 100% of the proceeds from the event Monday night to UNICEF. That contribution will equal $37,040.25.

“This event is big,” Ayton said. “Been waiting for this event. Really trying to spread the word around.”

Ayton made a $100,000 pledge earlier this month to the relief effort and also hosted a donation drive with Fry’s Food Stores for the supplies required such as toiletries, non-perishable food items and more. Suns owner Robert Sarver made a $10,000 contribution to Ayton’s pledge.

Teammates such as Mikal Bridges, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Elie Okobo were seen at the event, along with general manager James Jones.

“This is more than I expected giving back,” Ayton said. “It’s the least I can do.”

The second-year center spoke on what it meant to him to see the community come together to help.

“It’s a lot more motivation when it comes to just working hard and people who see your efforts and your hard work, they just want to back you up when your back is against the wall,” he said. “Not everybody is invincible or untouchable. Everybody needs somebody for help and I just love having supporters from the Valley that really appreciate everything that I do.”

It also offered a chance for the team to come together. Head coach Monty Williams invited the entire team in their group text to attend the event and Ayton was contacted by teammates for more on the ordeal such as what to wear and what time to show up.

That offered the team an early chance at bond before training camp gets underway next week.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “Team chemistry, team coming together, it’s something new for me as well.”

For those who want to donate, you can go to Suns.com/relief for more information and to support UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts.

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