Following the news of their first coronavirus-positive player, the NBA became one of the first associations to suspend their season indefinitely to help stagnate the spread of the disease, protecting their players and everyone else. Then it was time to buckle down and figure out what to do about the crashing economy of the basketball industry…which will be no easy task.
But one player wasn’t willing to wait for the difficult task of repairing an entirely broken system.
Despite only being in his first season, Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans stepped right up and pledged to cover the salaries of the workers at his home stadium.
“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. These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization,” Williamson wrote.
“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,” Williamson said in an Instagram post announcing the pledge. “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.”
He is the kind of hero the world needs right now, and questions of responsibility are being made irrelevant in the face of people who need help.
Mike Hoss, the communications coordinator for ASM Global, commented: “We are thrilled with the generous offer from Zion Williamson to pay the Smoothie King Center’s part-time workers for the next 30 days. The New Orleans Pelicans and ASM Global had already been in discussions to look at possible alternatives to deal with this challenging situation and late this afternoon Zion stepped up to provide support to his new community.”
Other players have been stepping up to make a difference in the lives of their industry workers, as well. Blake Griffin, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Love, have all pledged to donate $100,000 to employees at their home arenas as well.