With the NBA season halted over the ongoing spread of COVID-19, several athletes are stepping up to help ease financial burdens. Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Zion Williamson are among the list of players who will be covering salaries for employees at various arenas around the country while the NBA season is postponed.
Griffin, who plays for the Detroit Pistons, is donating $100,000 to employees at the Little Ceasars Arena who are affected by the shut down. Love, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, will be donating $100,000 to aid staff at the Quicken Loans Arena.
back at you. just following suit https://t.co/eQHrdodond
— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin23) March 13, 2020
Williamson, of the New Orleans Pelicans, will be covering salaries for Smoothie King Center employees for the next month. “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 crisis,” Williamson wrote on Instagram. “This is an incredibly resilient city full of some of the most resilient people, but sometime providing a little extra assistance can make things a little easier for the community.”
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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.
Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks forward and 2019 MVP) and his family have pledged $100,000 to help staff at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum. “It’s bigger than basketball! And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family lives and my teammates lives easier,” he tweeted on Friday (March 13).
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
Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, whose contraction of the coronavirus triggered the early end of basketball season, will be making a $500,000 donation in support of the Vivint Smart Home Arena and “COVID-related social service relief” in Utah, Oklahoma City, and health care efforts in his native country of France.
President Barack Obama sent a shout out to the players tweeting in part that the act of generosity stands as, “A reminder that we’re a community, and that each of us has an obligation to look out for each other.”