During the current coronavirus pandemic, the world has seen the very best and worst in humanity. No one is immune to the effects or symptoms of the ongoing health crisis but those who are better off look to be stepping up – I wish I could say the same for the US Government. Last week following comments that LeBron James wouldn’t play without a crowd and Rudy Gobert contracted the illness, the NBA made the tough decision to suspend the forthcoming season.
It is no guess that the thousands of people involved with the NBA rely on the association for their livelihoods and while players take a break from the court, workers at local arenas are also feeling the pinch. With little public healthcare and stimulus packages to assist people in America, several NBA players including Zion Williamson have volunteered help.
Taking to Instagram, the 19-year-old NBA rookie and rising star published a statement, revealing he would cover the salaries of workers from Smoothie King Center for the next 30 days. “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,” he wrote.
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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.
Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks has also pledged a similar contribution, announcing via Twitter that he would donated $100,000 USD to those who work at the team’s Fiserv Forum. “During this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates’ lives easier,” he wrote on 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
Speaking to ESPN, Kevin Love will also do the same for his team at Rocket Mortgage Field House and Blake Griffin at Little Ceasars Arena. “My hope is that others will step up!”, Love told the sports publication.
But while the contributions are incredibly generous, it begs the question to be asked, is it really up to players to ensure others are looked after? Is that not the role of the government? Or the sponsors of the arenas where they emblazon branding?
Over the weekend, US representative Katie Porter fought for free coronavirus testing for all Americans at the US House of Representatives. According to her calculations, testing would cost a citizen a minimum of $1,331 USD – a cost many people could not afford.
Stay tuned for further developments.