Former Indiana University basketball standout Victor Oladipo on Monday donated $15,000 to breast cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.
Oladipo, now a guard with the Orlando Magic, donated a share of his winnings from the recent Dunk Cancer social media fundraiser as part of the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend.
“It's an honor and a blessing to be able to give back first and foremost to the Indiana University family,” Oladipo said Monday evening. “I felt it was my duty and obligation to give back to this community. What better way to do it than through cancer research.”
Oladipo, who participated in the dunk contest during all-star weekend, also is sharing his winnings with the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute in Orlando.
“It was difficult to choose one charity to donate my earnings to and ask fans to help raise money for, so I chose three based on locations close to my heart—Maryland because that’s where I was born and grew up; Indiana because I’m a Hoosier for life; and Florida because they believed in me on draft night two years ago,” Oladipo said.
Oladipo’s contribution will be used for the cancer center’s breast cancer research program, which is composed of 35 Indiana University faculty members.
Gifts to the program support the development of new research that is difficult to finance because of the decline in federal research grant funding, according to center officials.
Oladipo also used his Twitter and Instagram accounts @VicOladipo and the hashtag, #dunkcancer during the all-star weekend to encourage fans to support his fundraising efforts by purchasing specially designed Dunk Cancer T-shirts and hoodies. During the social media campaign Oladipo shared details from his all-star weekend experience, and announced surprises and giveaways for participants using the hashtag #dunkcancer.
Oladipo, a Maryland native, came to IU as a lightly recruited basketball player in 2010. He was instrumental in helping IU coach Tom Crean turn the program around.
During Oladipo’s junior—and final—year at IU, the Hoosiers became the No. 1 ranked team in the country, won the Big Ten regular season championship before falling in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament.
In the 2013 NBA draft, Oladipo was selected second by Orlando. This year, the 22-year-old shooting guard is averaging 17.5 points per game.