UPDATE: Over the last 24 hours, almost two dozen NBA organizations have reportedly begun to work on compensation packages for arena staff affected by the league’s month-long shutdown. You the full list of teams pledging to support workers (or match player donations) here.
“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.”
As the NBA‘s season comes to an abrupt halt in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the league’s stars are stepping in to help cover the lost wages of arena staff affected by the shutdown.
So far, Zion Williamson, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, have all chipped in to provide their respective crews with assistance. Williamson, the 19-year-old rookie forward, has pledged to support New Orleans’ Smoothie King Arena for the month-long hiatus, while Antetokounmpo has put up $100,000 for workers at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum. Griffin and Love have made similar commitments to arena staff in Cleveland and Detroit.
In an Instagram post (read it in full above,) Williamson thanked his supporting staff, acknowledged how members of the crew were still feeling the weight of ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, and offered a few words of inspiration. “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,” Williamson wrote.
The assistance of players has been well received across the league and amongst fans, but sparked a debate over why team owners weren’t at least matching their efforts. Of the 30 teams, only the Dallas Mavericks are reportedly working on compensating event staff for the six home games scheduled during the league’s suspension, according to ESPN.