What NBA teams and players are doing to help out during the coronavirus pandemic

Cassandra Negley
·5 min read

More players and organizations are stepping up for the arena workers who will now miss paychecks due to the NBA suspending games indefinitely during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said on Friday he will donate $100,000 to the staff at the Fiserv Forum.

Later in the day, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin and New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson also pledged to help the workers in their home arenas.

Williamson promised to cover all worker salaries for 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,” Williamson wrote. ... “I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days.”

Meanwhile, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports that Griffin has pledged $100,000 to the workers at Little Caesars Arena.

Their donations came the day after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love announced a $100,000 donation through his foundation to help the team’s support staff and arena staff.

“I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities,” Love wrote in the Instagram announcement.

Mavericks, Hawks, Warriors plan to help staff

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban first brought the issue up Wednesday night after the NBA announced it would suspend games indefinitely. The Mavericks announced on Friday afternoon that it would pay event staff for the estimated six home games that will be missed during the 30-day hiatus.

The Golden State Warriors took it a step further on Friday night, too.

The ownership group, along with players and coaches, pledged to donate $1 million to the staff that works at the Chase Center.

Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler agreed to join Cuban in doing something similar for his arena workers, and the Philadelphia 76ers have said they would do something.

Bulls, Lakers, Clippers, Nets follow suit

Several teams made similar moves on Saturday, too.

The Bulls, along with the Chicago Blackhawks, announced that they would come together to pay United Center employees during the break.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Kings made the same announcement just hours later.

The Brooklyn Nets did the same for workers at the Barclays Center.

Magic announce $2 million to help arena employees

The DeVos family, owners of the Orlando Magic, announced a $2 million fund for workers at Amway Center. Approximately 1,800 part-time employees will receive paychecks through for the rest of the season’s schedule home games, per the release.

Magic players are also providing financial assistance.

Pelicans, Saints owner donates $1 million to fund, will pay arena workers

New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans owner Gayle Benson has donated $1 million to the Gayle Benson Community Assistance fund. The fund is aimed at aiding those in the New Orleans community affected by the coronavirus.

On top of that, Benson, 73, has set up an Arena Assistance Fund to make sure arena workers get paid for Pelicans games that have been postponed. This is a separate donation from Benson’s $1 million community fund. Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson has already pledged $100,000 to ensure Pelicans’ arena workers get paid for games postponed as people try to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

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Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo fields the ball as he shoots with teammates as they warm up for the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Monday, March 9, 2020, in Denver. The Nuggets won 109-95. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Milwaukee Bucks forward workers at the Bucks arena. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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