NBA Stars and Owners Pledge Financial Support for Arena Workers

Photo Credit: Unsplash

The coronavirus pandemic has put a halt on life as we know it. Unfortunately, the damage extends far beyond those who might contract the virus. Many hourly workers across multiple industries have been financially affected by the ongoing pandemic.

The sports world has been dramatically impacted, with multiple athletes and coaches across the world testing positive for COVID-19. And with all the American professional leagues on pause, the effects have been most felt by the thousands of everyday workers who work at arenas, stadiums and fields.

Fortunately, 19-year-old Zion Williamson is here to save the day.

The emerging superstar is just a rookie, but his recent pledge to pay the salaries of all Smoothie King Center workers for 30 days shows a maturity beyond his years.

The top overall draft pick and face of the New Orleans Pelicans offered his thoughts in an Instagram post:

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.

These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization. Unfortunately, many of them are still recovering from long term challenges created by 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.


Williamson’s selfless sacrifice is made possible with his lucrative contract. He’s currently playing on a four-year, $44.2 million contract. The high-flying dunker also has several endorsement deals that add to his net worth.

The heart-warming display of generosity by such a young player generated plenty of praise on Twitter.

For some, the donation proved Williamson’s character off the court:

Of course, Williamson isn’t the only prominent NBA figure to offer his assistance in this critical time. Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love made the first public pledge of $100,000 to help pay the staff at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.


Love’s donation sparked a serious of offerings from other players around the league. Among them are Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. Both stars pledged $100,000 towards the employees of their respective hometown arenas.

It wasn’t just players who got on board. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he will continue to pay workers even without games taking place. He explained how a program will be put in place to pay them during the suspension.

The collective efforts by the players and a few owners from the NBA should serve as a reminder that those who are blessed financially can still give back to those in need.

Let’s just hope the suspension and coronavirus pandemic end quickly so we can all return to normalcy.