Now Zion Williamson is in, with the rookie promising to cover arena staff salaries for 30 days.
View this post on Instagram
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.
The Pelicans followed up with a statement that, while vague, suggests the organization will pitch in to help the employees in some way as well. At least I think that’s what it means. It’s not the best worded press release ever.
Statement from the New Orleans Pelicans: pic.twitter.com/BIE9IdGX97
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 13, 2020
This is a generous pledge from the rookie, sure to endear him even further to the New Orleans community. Is there a PR element to it? Sure. That doesn’t make the offer any less genuine or any less helpful to the people impacted by the NBA’s break.
It is not just players, a number of teams have stepped up as well, including Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Golden State, and more.
There is going to be an economic trickle down from the NBA’s coronavirus-forced suspension of play. The players and team owners/executives will be just fine, it’s the hourly workers that will feel the pinch of reduced nights of work (especially with concerts, NHL games, and other events at arenas canceled as well). That’s not to mention the impact on workers in bars/restaurants around arenas, parking facilities, and a host of other places.
For all of our sakes, let’s hope that we as a nation start to get control of the spread of the virus and things can return closer to normal soon.