The Coronavirus has had a drastic effect on all Americans alike. Many cities and states across the United States have put into effect, a shelter in place order to help stop the spread of this pandemic.
Along with these measures, many non-essential businesses have either shut down or stopped offering their full service for the foreseeable future. With millions now out of work and millions more losing hours at their work due to the pandemic, our representatives stepped forward and passed a stimulus, that offered a one-time payment Americans to help with the crisis.
This pandemic reaches all across the spectrum, as many professional sports leagues in the U.S. have either cancelled their season, or moved their season to an undisclosed date. In particular, the NBA had nearly 20 games left in the regular season to complete, before the season was put on hiatus by commissioner Adam Silver.
While the players and coaches in these leagues make good money and most could afford to lose out on the remainder of the season, many arena employees of each team in the league rely on these part time jobs to make ends meet.
Every owner in the NBA is worth billions, however, it was players in these leagues that took the first step and started donating their own money to help their fellow workers at the arenas.
Kevin Love was the first NBA player to donate, as he pledged 100k for the staff at the Cleveland arena. It was early on, as this was right at the cusp of the NBA putting the season on hold.
Love showed true leadership in the face of uncertainty amongst the entire league. Kevin Love has been such a bright spot for the NBA and one of my favorite players in the league. It was earlier this year that Love had talked openly about the importance of mental health, trying to open the conversation for so many. I’m not surprised he was one of the first to step up when those around him needed his help.
So many more players would follow with Blake Griffin offering 100k himself for employees at the Pistons arena that would lose out on remaining games. I think it was important for veterans’ stars such as Blake and Kevin, to set an example.
Often, we see the profit motive put before people and workers by management, and here is a case where players of these organizations stepped up before the teams. These players work year-round in these communities, looking to make them better for adults and kids alike, and here they are again, looking to better the lives of workers in their communities the moment the need arrived.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, also donated 100k to arena staff of the Milwaukee Bucks’ This being an important step, as him being the reigning mvp, Giannis is molding into more of a spokesman for the NBA, like LeBron and Steph Curry have been for years.
The most surprising and moving donation I’ve seen however is that of Zion Williamson. Zion is only a rookie in the NBA, and has been a sensation on and off the court. According to CBSSports, “NO. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Zion Williamson, announced on his Instagram that he’s pledging to cover the salaries of all workers at Smoothie King center for the next 30 days. In the post, Williamson said, “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”.
Zion is only 19 years old. What were we up to at 19? The funniest part to me is that most team owners reacted to what players were contributing and then offered payments for the staff. In a time of crisis, you see who really cares and who doesn’t.
We saw the millionaires step up, as the billionaires followed in their footsteps. Leaders arrive in times of crisis, frankly when times are uncertain, there is a large segment of the population that look to celebrities for guidance wrong or right. Here is a shining example of athletes at the peak of their profession, understanding the dynamic of basketball vs people and what’s ultimately more important.
These owners cared about their bottom line first and foremost whether they ended up doing the right thing or not. The players took a person approach and let the rest fall where it may.