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NBA players donate money to support arena workers

Among those pledging are the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love and Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Image: Kevin Love, Zion Wilkinson, Blake Griffin
.Getty Images

NBA players are opening their wallets to try to help hourly workers who support their teams and work in arenas. The outpouring of donations comes after NBA games were suspended for at least 30 days when two players tested positive for the coronavirus.

Among a growing list of players who have already pledged donations are the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love, Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans, the Detroit Pistons' Blake Griffin and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Love said he was donating $100,000 to help "arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season."

He said he hoped others would join him in his efforts, which were spurred by his concern about the anxiety people are feeling.

"The folks at the arena are like family to me and I am grateful," Love said. "If you are anything like me, you may be justifiably stressed and worried about the impact coronavirus will have on all of us."

Williamson committed to cover the salaries for all of the workers at the Pelicans' arena for the next 30 days. He noted that many New Orleans residents are still recovering from long-term problems created by Hurricane Katrina.

"These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization," Williamson wrote on Instagram. "This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people."

Antetokounmpo said he and his family were donating $100,000 because the current situation is "bigger than basketball!"

Several NBA owners have also stepped up.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai all made pledges to compensate and support hourly workers in some way.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the unprecedented move to suspend the league's season on Wednesday. Shortly after, several other commissioners followed his lead and moved to either postpone or pause their seasons.

Silver, who has historically been quick to act and set the model in times of crisis, also addressed NBA fans in a letter. He reassured them of the league’s plan and the importance of safeguarding everyone’s health.

“This remains a complicated and rapidly evolving situation that reminds us that we are all part of a broader society with a responsibility to look out for one another,” Silver wrote.