Stars’ incredible response to virus crisis
Their season may be suspended but that hasn't stopped NBA stars taking action to help amid the coronavirus outbreak.
After the American basketball league announced during the week games would be put on hold "until further notice" as the world deals with the serious health crisis, players are taking it upon themselves to make a difference.
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Cleveland star Kevin Love started things off by pledging $AUD160,000 ($US100,000) to help employees at the Cavaliers' arena who have been put out of work for the foreseeable future by the season suspension.
"Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. And the fear and anxiety resulting from the recent outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely overwhelming," Love wrote on Instagram.
"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."
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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.
Love's touching gesture was the catalyst for other NBA stars to step up.
Reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo also pledged $160,000 for workers at the Milwaukee Bucks' Fiserv Forum that will lose wages during the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's bigger than basketball!" Antetokounmpo tweeted. "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!"
No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson, who is playing for the New Orleans Pelicans in his first NBA season, joined the party on Saturday, offering to cover the salaries for workers at his franchise's 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," Williamson said on Instagram.
"These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organisation. Unfortunately, many of them are still recovering from long term challenges created by (Hurricane) 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."
Detroit's Blake Griffin is another keen to donate, announcing he will offer up $160,000 to help workers at the Pistons' home stadium, Little Caesars Arena.
back at you. just following suit https://t.co/eQHrdodond— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin23) March 13, 2020
Charlotte Hornets centre Cody Zeller vowed to help and Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said the team had already come up with plans to compensate hourly employees "as if they worked" for the first four "would-have-been" Mavs games.
Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler and the Philadelphia 76ers also said they were looking into ways to assist their arena associates idled by the shut down.