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J.J. Watt Helping With Hurricane Harvey Relief

The power of sports to dramatize an issue, take the lead in problem-solving and trigger imitative behavior in the public has been powerfully on display in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Contributions by leagues, franchises and individual athletes as well as matching programs and direct action are making an impact. The NFL MLB, NBA, NHL and PGA have all pitched in with major acts of generosity and compassion. More contributors join the effort every day and at this point, the sports world has donated more than $65 million.

Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt has emerged as an American hero with his valiant fundraising efforts. His foundation has raised more than $33 million in several weeks. He donated $100,000.

The Texans, Titans, Cowboys, Lions, Ravens, Jets and the NFL Foundation all contributed $1 million, and the Patriots and Falcons agreed to match contributions to that level. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette, Steelers TE Vance McDonald and Texans LB Brian Cushing all donated $50,000. The Bengals donated receipts from last week's game.

D.J. Reader, J.J. Watt Bring Supplies

The NBA and its players came through in a substantial way. Longtime Rockets owner Leslie Alexander donated $10 million to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, and Micky Arison and his Miami Heat, and the NBA/NBAPA gave $1 million. Players John Wall, Bradley Beal and Wizards teammates contributed $250,000, and Warriors star Steph Curry gave $118,000.

The Houston Astros led MLB with a $4 million gift. The Texas Rangers and MLBPA gave $1 million. Tampa Bay donated all revenue from a three-game series between the Astros and Rangers played at Tropicana Field. Dodgers pitcher Scott Kazmir contributed $130,000. A number of players agreed to match public contributions, and Indians outfielderJay Bruce set a cap at $100,000. The Yankees set a formula based on wins, the Cardinals on homers by Adam Wainright and Matt Carpenter.

The PGA Tour donated $250,000. Golfer Stacy Lewis contributed $195,000 and K.J. Choi $100,000. Chris Stroud gave 10 percent of earnings at a Boston tournament, and Sergio Garcia $2,000 for each birdie and $5,000 for every eagle during the FedEx Cup. The NHL/NHLPA donated $250,000. Miami Heat player Gerald Green and UFC fighter Derrick Lewis actually conducted rescue missions themselves and used their social media to coordinate.

Professional sports helped lead the way to assist an area staggering with the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey. I went to the Texas-San Jose State game in Austin and the Cowboys-Giants game in Dallas, and both venues had nonstop pleas to the fans for hurricane relief. From leagues to teams to players associations to individual athletes, sports presented a united front. And in addition to their own contributions, they brought awareness and fundraising direction to the public. Hurricane Irma relief is next.

This was one of sports' finest hours.

-- Leigh Steinberg has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing and golf, including the first overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented eight times, among more than 60 first-round selections. His clients have included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, and he served as the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire." Follow him on Twitter @leighsteinberg.