NBA pro and New Jersey native Kyrie Irving quietly donated $22,000 to a fellow New Jersey native who has struggled to pay her undergrad college tuition.

The athlete, who grew up in West Orange, recently lost his endorsement deal with Nike in fallout from sharing a film with anti-Semitic views.

Destiny Thompson, a sophomore who attends Howard University, is a ‘first-generation student from a family of ten,” according to a GoFundMe campaign she created last week.

Within two days, Irving had pledged the generous amount, shattering the campaign goal of raising $6,000.

💸 Gratitude for Irving's donation

Thompson then shared her gratitude in a video posted to Facebook, in between a work shift wiping down registers at Walmart, saying, “Thank you 1,000 times for blessing me like this, Mr. Kyrie Irving.”

“I cried just a lot of tears," she said. "I can't really wrap my head around how generous people can be."

Thompson, a civil engineering major with a mathematics minor, has said that the money raised would go directly to her balance for the semester.

Undergrad from NJ receives $22K from Kyrie Irving (GoFundMe Help Destiny Stay at Howard University)
Undergrad from NJ receives $22K from Kyrie Irving (GoFundMe Help Destiny Stay at Howard University)

Established in 1867, Howard University is a federally chartered, private and historically Black research university in Washington, D.C.

🏀 Irving roots in the Garden State

Irving grew up in West Orange and attended St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, before going to Duke University.

He entered the NBA Draft in 2011 and was selected as first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving has made past headlines for refusing to receive a COVID vaccine under New York City health regulations. He also shared anti-vaccination misinformation as well as theories promoted by Alex Jones.

In 2017, he also publicly stated his belief that the earth was flat, before walking back those comments the following year.

Among reactions to the recent turmoil after Irving promoted an antisemitic film and then defended his actions, NBA icon Kareem Abdul Jabbar was interviewed by The Free Press.

"Social media has given huge platforms to people just because they are famous. Being famous for one thing does not mean your opinion about something else is valuable," Jabbar said.

"Kyrie Irving may be the sweetest guy in the world at home and among his friends. But once he decides to broadcast his opinions to the world, he needs to be judged only on the content of what he says."

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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