Sometimes society tends to forget that sports are not just for our viewing pleasure and entertainment. Sports tend to have the unique ability to unite people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or anything like that. In times like this when the nation is facing a pandemic its never seen before, sports would usually be our saving grace and a welcome distraction. Yet, for the first time sport is a victim, a casualty of the coronavirus. All major sports leagues and events have been postponed and canceled until further notice. Selfishly, fans ache at that thought because this generation has never known a March without the madness or an April without The Masters and the NBA playoffs.
This new reality without sports may bring to light how impactful it really is to everyone. Thousands of professional athletes are without their job but most have six, seven, or eight-figure contracts to fall back on while they are not playing. Not everyone is as blessed as these athletes, especially not the people who work in the arenas that the athletes call home. These arenas are filled to the brim with staffers with jobs that are fully dependent on sports being in action. Some of the NBA’s biggest stars have recognized the dilemma that the coronavirus has placed these workers and have decided to bless them financially. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was the first to lend his support for the staff at American Airlines Arena during a press conference right after the Mavericks game against the Denver Nuggets.
Kevin Love was the first player to commit to giving a certain amount of money when he announced through Instagram that he would be donating $100,000 to the workers at Quicken Loans Arena. His generosity began a wave of NBA stars committing to give money to the staff at their respective arenas.
View this post on Instagram
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. And the fear and anxiety resulting from the recent outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely overwhelming. Through the game of basketball, we've been able to address major issues and stand together as a progressive league that cares about the players, the fans, and the communities where we work. I'm concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I'm committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season. I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities. Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon. They affect individuals and society on so many levels, with stigma and xenophobia being just two aspects of the impact of a pandemic outbreak. It's important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need — whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family.
Giannis Antetokounmpo matched Love’s 100K commitment.
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. Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together! 🙏🏽
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) March 13, 2020
Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player to contract the virus, decided to up the ante and donated more than $500,000 in support of the staff at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Rudy Gobert is donating more than $500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena and COVID-related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and within the French health care system.
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) March 14, 2020
Other stars in the NBA have found different ways to use their resources to help society out during this crisis. Stephen Curry has made it his mission to provide students in Oakland with the guaranteed meals they would rely on their school to supply for them.
Oakland is closing schools bc of COVID-19. We support this decision but are concerned a/b the 18,000+ kids that rely on school for 2+ meals daily. @eatlearnplay is donating to @ACCFB to ensure every child has access to the food they need. Join us & donate https://t.co/nDqF7OoO0Z pic.twitter.com/nFp0w1eFqH
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) March 14, 2020
Karl Anthony-Towns has decided to donate $100,000 to the workers at Mayo Clinic as they proceed in their efforts to find a cure for the coronavirus and increase the number of tests they can do on people daily.
This is why I will be donating $100K to support these efforts. Thank you to the Mayo Clinic workers and all healthcare workers who are working around the clock to treat us. You are our heroes.
We’re all in this together, let’s protect ourselves and the community around us.
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) March 16, 2020