If we’re gonna tackle the coronavirus, it’s gonna take a team effort.
Since the NBA announced that it would be suspending the season following Utah Jazz stars’ Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell testing positive for COVID-19, arena workers would be the ones suffering the most. NBA ballers are now stepping up to the plate and offering some relief to arena employees who will take a financial hit due to the NBA stoppage.
Cleveland Cavaliers star, Kevin Love, got the ball rolling donating $100,000 through his Kevin Love FUn to support arena support staff. He made the announcement in an Instagram post stating:
“I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling, and that is why I’m committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season. I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities.”
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Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. And the fear and anxiety resulting from the recent outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely overwhelming. Through the game of basketball, we've been able to address major issues and stand together as a progressive league that cares about the players, the fans, and the communities where we work. I'm concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I'm committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season. I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities. Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon. They affect individuals and society on so many levels, with stigma and xenophobia being just two aspects of the impact of a pandemic outbreak. It's important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need — whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family.
Speaking with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Kevin Love said:
“My hope is that others will step up!”
Soon after, last year’s MVP, and Milwaukee Bucks All-Star, Giannis Antetokounmpo announced on Twitter he would also be donating $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff.
“It’s bigger than basketball! And during this tough time, I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives, and my teammates lives easier. Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together!”
Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry also said in a tweet the team will match Giannis’ pledge.
19-year-old New Orleans Pelicans rookie phenom, Zion Williamson, also announced he would be opening up his wallet and announced he would be covering Smoothie King Center worker’s salaries for the next 30 days.
“I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days. This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully, we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis.”
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The people of New Orleans have been incredibly welcoming and supportive since I was Drafted by the Pels last June, and some of the most special people I have met are those who work at smoothie King Center. These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization. Unfortunately, many of them are still recovering from long term challenges created by Katrina, and now face the economic impact of the postponement of games because of the virus. My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days. This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis. This is an incredibly resilient city full of some of the most resilient people, but sometimes providing a little extra assistance can make things a little easier for the community.
Detroit Pistons star, Blake Griffin, also opened up his wallet and also donated $100,000 to help workers at Little Caesars Arena.
Now a lot of folks are asking where the owners are at? Why haven’t they stepped up yet? So far, Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert will continue to pay Rocket Mortgage Arena event staff and workers even though the season has been suspended. Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, immediately announced when news broke of the NBA shutting down that he would be putting together a program to help workers at the arena.
We don’t know how long we are going to be battling COVID-19, but these kind gestures from these NBA players are what is needed to help those who need assistance. We tip our hat to them. To stay up-to-date on the coronavirus, be sure to either check out the CDC or World Health Organization’s websites.
Photo: Jason Miller / Getty