When Zalgiris Kaunas takes the floor at WiZink Center in the Spanish capital to play Real Madrid on Thursday evening, visiting center Jock Landale will be playing for something greater than just winning the game. Landale will be playing also to raise awareness and funds to battle the bushfires that have ravaged his native Australia. For that reason, he has pledged to donate 100 Australian dollars for every three-pointer and dunk made by both teams in this game.
"I want to capitalize on the opportunity on center court, on the main stage, to give back to the communities in Australia and I'm hoping that it will spark some interest around EuroLeague and other people will jump on board and help out," Landale said. "The wildlife centers need help; the volunteer firefighters need help. There're families whose houses have been completely destroyed and they'll need help rebuilding their houses and towns."
Millions of acres have burned in the fires, which have been raging since September. Nearly 2,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 20 people and an estimated hundreds of millions of animals have been killed. Many of the fires are uncontained and, since it is now summertime in Australia, there is no end in sight.
Landale, 24, grew up in suburban Melbourne, Australia. He played for the Australian national team last summer at the Basketball World Cup. This is his second professional season in Europe and first in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.