The outbreak of the coronavirus is having a devastating impact on the pay of thousands of hourly employees at basketball arenas across the country. But some of the biggest names in the NBA have come together to announce they’re donating thousands of dollars to employees missing out on pay as the season is indefinitely suspended.

Zion Williamson, of the New Orleans Pelicans, also posted on Instagram he was paying the salaries of Smoothie King Center employees for the next month.

 

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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.

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The Golden State Warriors announced yesterday that the franchise’s owners, players, and coaches will contribute $1 million to a relief fund for Chase Center employees.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also announced this week that he had begun to put in place a program to financially support the arena workers.

Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavs also stepped in and donated $100,000, saying in an Instagram post: “I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I’m commiting $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFun 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.

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It’s going to be a tough time for sport, but it’s heartening to see these guys reaching out in support.