11:14 PM ET
For Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner, what started as a response to an internet troll eventually turned into a fundraiser for storm-damaged Texas.
It began when Turner received an unusual message from a disgruntled fan after Monday’s overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls. The fan sent a $100 Venmo request to Turner — not once, but three times — blaming him for the loss.
Turner typically doesn’t respond to internet trolls, but this time he engaged and countered with a payment of 1 cent.
“Here’s a penny for your thoughts,” Turner wrote in a return message.
The fan shared the payment via Twitter, and it gained traction. Random fans then began sending in payments to Turner, who said as of Friday night he had received about $3,500.
Turner, the NBA’s leading shot-blocker, now says he will keep it going for something positive. He said he will match any donations to assist those affected by the Texas power outage.
As a Bedford, Texas, native whose parents also live in the state, Turner said he plans to keep it going until Monday.
“I’m finally at a point in my career where I can laugh at stuff like that,” Turner told ESPN on Friday, referencing the troll. “My first couple years in the league, I would’ve took offense to it. I would’ve been mad, I would’ve wanted to say something back, but I’ve been dealing with this for the past two or three years. I can have a great game, I can have a bad game, they love you and they hate you.”
Turner said he hasn’t decided where exactly to direct the funds. His business manager, Lavelt Page, said he is targeting five to 10 families as well as charitable organizations to help with issues such as homelessness and water damage.
Millions of Texans were without power, stemming from severe winter weather while others were advised throughout the week to boil their tap water before use as bacteria may have entered the water supply.
Turner’s parents and other members of his immediate family were also affected temporarily in Colleyville, Texas, which is centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth. However, Turner said they’re doing fine now.
“Thankfully, everybody is good,” Turner said. “They were both without power and without water for a little while. My parents’ water just got turned on last night, but we have a backup generator that we depend on and it was able to sustain heat for the house, and we had a whole bunch of extra food and everything.
“My mom is one of them apocalyptic moms that actually prepares for stuff like this. She’s telling me for years to always have food, blankets, this, this and that. And she came through. She had everything she needed for this time. When all the grocery stores were closed, you couldn’t travel anywhere, they were ready.”
As for the initial Venmo request from the fan, Turner said he is not exactly sure how the fan was able to find him, although his Venmo account is under the same name as his Twitter handle.
Either way, he has used it as a bigger opportunity.
“Some people have been sending me $33 for my number, and I have 801 [career] blocks this season so $8.01, and finding creative ways to send me messages and all this kind of stuff through Venmo, so it’s a new way of fan interaction for me,” Turner said. “A lot of people have been sending personalized messages and giving me shoutouts, and it’s been a new way for me to connect and a new form of fan engagement for me. Something I feel like hasn’t been done before. So, I want to take it and run with it.”11:14 P.M. (EASTERN TIME).
Eric Woodyards pen.
What started as a response to an internet troll eventually turned into a fundraiser for the Indiana Pacers’ Miles Turner Center, which was destroyed by Hurricane Texas.
It all started when Turner received an unusual message from an angry fan after Monday’s overtime loss against the Chicago Bulls. One fan sent Turner a $100 Venmo demand – not once, but three times – blaming him for the loss.
Turner doesn’t usually respond to internet trolls, but this time he took action and responded with a penny.
Here’s a penny for your thoughts, Turner wrote in a reply message.
A fan shared the payment on Twitter, and it has gained popularity. Accidental fans then began sending payments to Turner, who said he received about $3,500 Friday night.
Turner, the NBA’s top scorer, now says he will continue to do something positive. He said he would collect any donations to help those affected by the power outage in Texas.
Turner, a resident of Bedford, Texas, whose parents also live in the state, said he plans to keep him until Monday.
I’m finally at the point in my career where I can laugh at these things, Turner told ESPN on Friday about the troll. I would have been offended the first two years in the league. I would be angry, I would want to say something back, but I’ve been dealing with this for the last two or three years. I can play a good game, I can play a bad game, they love you and they hate you.
Mr. Turner stated that he has not yet decided on the exact use of the funds. Executive Director, Lovelt Page, said he works with 5 to 10 families and charities to help solve problems such as homelessness and water damage.
Millions of Texans were left without electricity by the harsh winter, while others were advised to boil their tap water for a week before using it because bacteria could get into the water.
Turner’s parents and other close family members have also been temporarily relocated to Colleyville, Texas, which is centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth. But Turner says they’re fine for now.
Fortunately, everyone is fine, Mr. Turner said. They were both deprived of electricity and water for some time. The water from my parents’ house came in last night, but we have an emergency generator that we can rely on, and it was able to handle the heat in the house, and we had a lot of extra food and other things.
My mom is one of those apocalyptic moms who really prepares for this kind of thing. She has been telling me for years that I must always have food, blankets, and this and that. And she died. This time she had everything she needed. When all the grocery stores were closed and you had nowhere to go, they were ready.
As for the initial request from a Venmo fan, Turner said he wasn’t entirely sure how the fan found him, although his Venmo account is under the same name as his Twitter ID.
Either way, he made it a great opportunity.
Some people have sent me $33 for my number, and I have an 801 [career] block this season, so $8.01, and they’ve found creative ways to send me messages and things like that through Venmo, so it’s a new way for me to communicate with the fans, Turner said. Many people have sent me personal messages and called. It was a new way of communicating for me and a new form of fan engagement. Something I don’t think has ever been done before. So I want to take it and use it.