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LeBron offers help to Katrina victims

LeBron James helped load four tractor-trailers with diapers, school supplies, food and other items for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' star spent about $120,000 in two hours Thursday at a Sam's Club warehouse store in Fairlawn, Ohio, near his hometown of Akron. The goods will be sent to Houston, Louisiana and Mississippi.

"He just thought he had to from the heart, decided that this is what he had to do," James' mother, Gloria James, said as forklifts behind her moved cases of paper towels, canned tuna and other items onto the trucks. "And here we are."

James bought "everything from diapers right on down to school supplies," said Sam's Club employee Christina Knox. "This is a lot of what they need right now."

The 20-year-old James also plans to join Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and other top NBA players for a charity game in Houston on Sunday.

In other Katrina developments:

The NFL has designated the second week of its season as "Hurricane Relief Weekend," which will culminate with a fund-raising telethon that will be part of ABC's "Monday Night Football," commissioner Paul Tagliabue said.

Under the theme of "Recover & Rebuild," the NFL, its clubs, network television partners — ABC, CBS, ESPN and FOX — and sponsors will use the Sept. 18-19 games to raise funds and bring attention to the massive needs of the Gulf Coast region.

"The Gulf Coast and our entire nation face extraordinary challenges," Tagliabue said. "We will continue to do our part to contribute to the recovery and rebuilding process. The weekend of what should have been the Saints' first home game in New Orleans this year is an appropriate time for a special leaguewide effort to focus on the restoration of the Gulf Coast."

Tennis fans renowned for buying pricey crepes and cappuccinos opened their hearts as well as wallets at the U.S. Open to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Instead of hawking programs, students asked fans to dig deep to help those suffering on the Gulf Coast. In just a week, a handful of juniors from Dwight-Englewood School in New Jersey raised almost $50,000 for the American Red Cross.

That will supplement the $500,000 already promised by the U.S. Tennis Association. The students wanted to help and approached the Red Cross and the USTA.

"It was the perfect venue," volunteer Michael Miura said.

Some contributors were from the Gulf Coast.

Attorney Ray Solomon's son, Neil, was a volunteer. He said nearly a dozen donors were from the affected region, including a Mississippi woman who stopped by the Red Cross booth four times, donating each time.

A Shreveport, La., resident, who had Open tickets before Katrina hit, had 46 displaced people in his home before he left for New York. Students from badly damaged Tulane University, wearing their school T-shirts, stopped by the Red Cross booth, Ray Solomon said. Some were being taken in by East Coast schools.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay donated $100,000 and bidders offered another $26,000 for jerseys, helmets and footballs autographed by Peyton Manning as part of a radio auction. Including the donation by Irsay, the Colts said the five-hour auction on WFBQ drew more than 5,000 calls and raised $311,975.

"It was an amazing event," said Tom Zupancic, the Colts' senior vice president of business development. "An unbelievable outpouring of generosity from throughout the country enabled us to provide some relief for the people who are suffering.

The Miami Heat and NBA champion San Antonio Spurs will play Oct. 10 in an extra exhibition game to raise money for Katrina relief. The Heat will donate all proceeds from ticket sales, concessions, parking and retail sales to the American Red Cross.

"We as an organization will do just about anything to supply comfort, compassion, money and anything else we can to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina," Heat president Pat Riley said.

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and the Los Angeles Angels' Vladimir Guerrero will donate $50,000 each. The Dominicans hope other major leaguers will join them.

Red Sox fans have given nearly $185,000 to the Red Cross in six days.

—The Boston Celtics will team up with Habitat for Humanity International to help rebuild homes. The Celtics' players, owners, coaches and staff will match each donation made through the team's Web site — www.celtics.com.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will donate $50 to the Red Cross for every passing yard and $250 for each TD pass Sunday in the Steelers' opener against Tennessee. The Steelers' autograph party Tuesday at Heinz Field raised $113,000. All-Pro Alan Faneca, a former said, stayed for the entire four-hour session.

The Tennessee Titans will host an eight-hour blood drive in the club area of The Coliseum on Sept. 17. Fans are encouraged to bring cash or nonperishable food for the Second Harvest Food Bank, which is helping area shelters. Volunteers will collect money before the Titans' home opener against Baltimore on Sept. 18.

The University of New Orleans baseball team, displaced by Hurricane Katrina, will be based at New Mexico State this fall. New Orleans' men's and women's basketball teams will be based at the University of Texas at Tyler, the track teams at in Baton Rouge and the men's golf team at LSU at Shreveport.

The Oakland Athletics raised $103,153 for the American Red Cross during their recent six-game homestand. The majority of funds were raised through fan donations, in addition to a contribution by the A's Community Fund, a live postgame dugout auction and the sale of A's autographed baseballs sold by the players' wives.

The Westminster Kennel Club donated $20,000 to agencies in Louisiana and Texas to help recover and shelter lost pets.

The Houston Texans are asking fans who can't make it to the home opener Sept. 18 against the Pittsburgh Steelers to donate their tickets to hurricane refugees.