Tim Frazier stirred awake last Saturday night, the rain pelting his family’s Pearland, Tex., home as Hurricane Harvey unleashed its force.
Frazier had recently returned from the Washington Wizards’ minicamp in Los Angeles, his first alongside his new teammates. Rather than settling into his residence in Washington for the first time since being traded to the Wizards in June, he had gone home ahead of Hurricane Harvey, wanting to be with his father, mother and sister in case something happened.
After a sleepless night, Frazier and his family were spared much of the early catastrophe caused by the wettest storm in the history of the continental United States. But they were stuck inside the home as surrounding streets and Southeast Houston freeways were submerged. According to an American Red Cross official, more than 32,000 people have stayed at their shelters across the Gulf Coast. At least 22 people have died, as of Tuesday evening, with officials expecting that number to grow.
“They had never been as bad as this,” Frazier said of previous storms in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his family’s home, about 16 miles south of Houston.
By Wednesday morning, Frazier, as well as Wizards teammate and Houston native Sheldon Mac, whom he has texted daily, had found some reprieve. Frazier’s parents were able to leave the house and shop at a nearby grocery store. Frazier and his sister found the streets passable enough to wade three miles through a foot of water to check on her home.
“There’s still houses and parts of the city underwater. Freeways underwater, light poles underwater, cars. The city’s going to take a while but we’ve gotten incredible support from everybody,” Frazier said. “Just this whole experience is really tragic. But our city has come together in a huge way.”
Frazier has been encouraged by the support. Houston Texans linebacker J.J. Watt has raised more than $6 million, which is growing by the hour. Frazier’s Wizards teammates have raised $250,000 to aid the Red Cross. And on Wednesday, John Wall announced on Instagram that he will donate $25,000 to both Watt and comedian Kevin Hart’s relief efforts.
John Wall says he's donating $50,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts on IG pic.twitter.com/H3Kov23JpL
— Alysha Tsuji (@AlyshaTsuji) August 30, 2017
Besides the financial pledges, the Wizards’ organization showed support on a more personal level.
As photos and videos of the hurricane’s destruction spread Sunday morning, text messages and calls began overwhelming Frazier’s phone. Frazier said Tommy Sheppard, the team’s senior vice president of basketball operations, reached out first, followed by his teammates such as Wall and Bradley Beal, then Coach Scott Brooks and members of his coaching staff. They all shared a similar message: Be strong, let us know how we can help.
“Honestly, I don’t want to say it caught me off guard but it kind of did. They’ve only known me, what, a month or so? But … it wasn’t a hesitation in the thought process,” Frazier said. “It’s just an awesome feeling to know you have that support from your brothers and the people in your organization.
“It was literally the entire organization checking in on me.”
Frazier, who has been a popular teammate through his three previous stops in the NBA, also received calls from friends with the Portland Trail Blazers and the franchise he most recently departed, the New Orleans Pelicans. Superstar Anthony Davis was one of the first to FaceTime him.
With the waters receding, Frazier has also been able to move more freely. Though he had to walk in a high water to check on his sister’s home, Frazier and his father were able to drive a few exits further from their house to deliver groceries to friends.
Frazier had originally planned to leave Houston for Washington on Sept. 1, but that flight has been rescheduled. Now, Frazier wants to remain a while longer and volunteer wherever needed.
While recalling his decision last week to return to Texas, Frazier said he didn’t know the hurricane would be this harrowing. Still, he’s happy that he was home.
“Obviously, it’s good to be in a safe area if I was to go someplace else,” Frazier said. “But just to wonder and have that mind-set of what’s going on with your home or what’s going on with your family — I don’t know if I could live with that if something was to happen and I wasn’t there.”
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