Former Seton Hall star and current Philadelphia 76er Samuel Dalembert made an appearance at the Prudential Center during last night's Seton Hall-Louisville game.
Dalembert, a native of Haiti, has become the most notable spokesman of any professional athlete in raising money for his homeland after a devastating earthquake razed the country.
An earthquake which had a magnitude of 7.0 hit the county January 12, has left a reported toll close to 150,000 people dead and leveled the capital city of Port-au-PrinceDalembert, who also was an All-State selection at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, made a speech during the first half imploring fans to donate money to his relief fund, which is run in tandem with Medishare and UNICEF and can be found at dalembertfoundation.com
He has already donated $350,000 of his own money and said he would match the cumulative total of whatever was given last night.
Since the earthquake hit Dalembert has become extremely busy. In between fundraising and playing for the 76ers, he took his first trip to Haiti since the natural disaster.
Dalembert, the lone Haitian in the NBA, arrived in his native land Tuesday and barely returned in time for Philadelphia's game Wednesday night.
"It's been nonstop," he said. "I've been on the phone coordinating, talking to different organizations. I'm partners with Medishare and UNICEF so I went back home to see what they are doing so I can stay on top of everything."
Dalembert went back so that he could personally see what the conditions were like and figure out where exactly the money he raised needs to be appropriated.
"I really wanted to go to have a hands-on and really see exactly what's going on and see what's needed, how can I help," Dalembert said. "Basically coming back to see where can I help because there is nothing I could have done over there. There was no need for me to stay longer, there was enough for me from what I saw."
He was deeply affected by what he saw once he arrived in Haiti.
"It hurts me," Dalembert said. "It touched me deeply. This is my people in such a terrible need. I know we are strong people and we are tough people but it was very hard for me to see that. I am doing everything in my power to help out."