NBA Stars Helping Out-of-Work Concession Workers With Massive Donations
Concession workers and hourly wage earners negatively affected the NBA's suspension of their season due to coronavirus are finding unlikely allies to help them weather the financial storm.
Numerous NBA players are donating massive amounts of money to help cover the out-of-work employees while the world waits, and hopes, that the coronavirus pandemic eventually abates.
The NBA suspended their season last week, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban immediately told a courtside reporter that he would be launching a program designed to help out-of-work hourly staffers.
Since then, there has been a flurry of young basketball stars making public announcements of significant financial support. Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love kicked things off on Thursday by announcing via Instagram that he would be donating $100,000 to Cavs arena workers and support staff.
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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.
Shortly afterward, the Cavaliers organization announced that they would continue to compensate staffers even though games had stopped playing.
Next, post-Love's donation, fellow NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo announced a similar pledge to Milwaukee's FiServe arena workers via Twitter:
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! 🙏🏽
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) March 13, 2020
And the latest breakout star, Zion Williamson, pledged via Instagram to cover the salaries of workers for the next 30 days at New Orleans Smoothie King Arena where the Pelicans play:
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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 Piston's star Blake Griffin has also pledged $100,000, and Steph Curry played a critical role in a $1,000,000 donation from players, coaches and the Golden State Warriors organization.