Too Short For A Column

Need two free tickets to an NBA game? Feel like saving a couple lives for just $10? I have just the thing.

Three years ago I wrote a Sports Illustrated column about how simple nets hung over African kids' beds could keep them from dying of malaria.

I asked my readers -- that would be you wonderful, cool, smart people -- to buy some nets for these kids. They're only $10. I called it Nothing But Nets and we got the United Nations Foundation to run it.

Guess what? We just passed $30 million in donations -- much of it from moms having bake sales, kids' bar mitzvah money, soccer teams holding fundraisers (hit the net from 50 feet out or pay up!). "American Idol" didn't hurt, either.

We've sent close to three million nets to children, pregnant women and refugees in Africa. Malaria is down nearly two-thirds in villages we've covered. How sweet is that?

This year Nothing But Nets and the UN Refugee Agency set a goal of protecting more than one million displaced families in Africa from malaria, the number one killer of refugees. And we're almost there. We need 160,000 nets before the end of this year to reach our goal.

To help get us to the finish line, I'm going to match your donation -- net for net, up to a total of $25,000. So if you send $10 -- enough to put a net over a kid -- I'll send $10, and we'll cover two. Send $100 and I'll send $100 and we'll cover 20.

Still not enough? How about a free throw? To make the deal even sweeter, NBA Cares will throw in two free tickets to an NBA game for every $10 donation.

Send a Net. Save Two Lives. See a Game. That's a pretty good day, right? Beats listening to J.J. Redick's new rap album.

Anyway, I'd love it if you could help Nothing But Nets drop the New Year's Eve ball on malaria.

That's the way to start 2010.

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