With no basketball to be played due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Suns guard Devin Booker is turning to video games with his time off — and using them to make a difference in the Phoenix area.
Booker is donating $100,000 to Phoenix-area charities, and the Suns are matching his donation, the team announced on Thursday. He will continue to raise money while broadcasting on Twitch in the coming days and weeks, too.
The money will be donated to local non-profit organizations, like the Arizona Food Bank Network, the Foundation for Senior Living and the Banner Health Foundation, per the release. Booker and the team will work with public health experts and local officials to determine where their support can have the biggest impact.
“With countless people around the globe turning to streaming to get their mind off things, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to bring people together, raise awareness and help those in need at the same time,” Booker said in a statement. “These are trying times that transcend basketball and I would like to call on everyone to be good teammates as we deal with this challenge together.”
Many NBA players have turned to video games since the NBA suspended its season on March 11 due to the coronavirus — a decision that was made just moments after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive. Several other players and staff members around the league have since tested positive, too. It’s unclear when the NBA — or sports in general — will return to normal.
Booker frequently broadcasts on Twitch while playing “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare,” and has offered up incentives to those who donate to his campaign, including signed basketballs, jerseys and even a chance to play the game with him. The Suns have embraced video games during the league hiatus, too, and are simulating the games they are supposed to be playing on “NBA 2K20.” Phoenix’s Ty Jerome led the Suns to a win over the Timberwolves in the game on Wednesday night, beating Josh Okogie after the two squared off online, too.
Booker averaged 26.1 points and 6.6 assists this season, his fifth in the league, before the league suspended operations. The 23-year-old is currently in the first year of a five-year, $158 million deal with the Suns.
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