Since the age of 14, Rockets center Samuel Dalembert has committed his life to basketball.
But two years ago Dalembert had to reassess his priorities after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck his home town of Port Au Prince, Haiti on January 12.
Dalembert, on the 76ers at the time, was in Philadelphia when news of the earthquake broke.
Three days later, he made the trip to Haiti to see the devastation firsthand.
“It was crazy, it was disturbing,” said Dalembert. “Surgery is being performed, it’s like being in the Army. You see flies and other things over there. Little kids are screaming, it was Armageddon. You felt like it was the end of the world.”
The earthquake killed 316,000 people and left millions of others homeless, including Dalembert’s grandmother, who passed away last year.
“You know it was a lot for her to deal with because the whole home she worked for got collapsed. You know she was my dad and my mom, so she raised me and was proud of me,” Dalembert said.
But the pain Dalembert’s gone through has fueled a passion to help his fellow countrymen from right here in the United States.
He started the Dalembert Foundation, which has raised more than $2 million for earthquake relief. Dalembert says that’s just the beginning.
“We’re doing the best we can,” he said.
That’s why he says his presence amongst the people – especially the children – is what really can bring back hope.