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‘Bigger Than Basketball’: Zion Williamson, Steph Curry and Other Players Donating Money to Arena Staffs During NBA Shutdown

NBA players like Steph Curry, Zion Williamson, Blake Griffin and Giannis Antetokounmpo are donating money to their arenas’ staffs.

That’s because sports facility workers all across the United States who receive hourly wages are out of work since the league suspended the current season because of the coronavirus.

Zion Williamson (left) and Steph Curry (right) are just two of the NBA players who are donating money to the employees of their arenas. (Photos: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images, Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images)

Williamson said he’d be paying salaries for the staff of the Smoothie King Center for the next month, where his New Orleans Pelicans play.

“These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization,” wrote Williamson Friday, March 13, on Instagram.

“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,” he added.

Antetokounmpo posted his message on Friday as well and revealed how he’d help the staff of Fiserv Forum, where his team the Milwaukee Bucks play.

“It’s bigger than basketball! And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier,” he tweeted. “Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together!”

On Friday, the Golden State Warriors revealed they would be donating $1 million to the workers of their Chase Center arena, and the money will come from players, owners and coaches. Curry said the donation was to “help ease the pain during this time.”

Griffin, who plays for the Detroit Pistons, said he’ll donate $100,000 to the employees of the Pistons’ Little Caesars Arena, which he announced Friday on Twitter.

Plus, the Utah Jazz set up a relief fund for the staff of their Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, who tested positive for the virus last week, said he’s contributing $200,000 toward it.

Gobert is also donating $100,000 apiece to services that deal with the coronavirus in Utah and Oklahoma City, the latter city being where he tested positive. He’s donating €100,000 to his home country of France as well to help the French effort in battling the virus.

“I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted,” said Gobert in a statement. “These donations are a small token that reflect my appreciation and support for all those impacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a positive difference, while continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and educate others.”

Gobert has been criticized for not taking the virus seriously at first. Before testing positive, he even touched the microphones and recorders when speaking to the media at the Jazz’s practice facility earlier this month.

On Sunday, ESPN said the NBA is considering picking the season back up in mid to late June, but fans won’t be allowed in the arenas to watch.


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