Coronavirus may not have a huge financial impact on wealthy NBA players, but it has the potential to be disastrous for those who work in or around the NBA in a non-basketball capacity. With no games being played, arena workers around the league that are paid on an hourly basis are suddenly out of a job. No unified plan has been presented to take care of those workers, so some people are taking it into their own hands.
One such example? Kevin Love. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward pledged a $100,000 donation to the the workers and support staff at Quicken Loans Arena impacted by this crisis with an Instagram post Thursday.
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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.
So far, Love is one of the first major basketball figures to pledge financial support to displaced arena workers. The Cavaliers followed Love's lead, with a statement saying they will develop "a compensation plan to continue paying our event staff and hourly workforce that is impacted with the changes to our regular event schedule."
The generosity shown by both Love and the Cavs made one player on Cleveland's roster feel particularly proud:
"Incredible! Proud to be around such an amazing organization and people! Well done @kevinlove and @cavsdan," Larry Nance Jr. tweeted.
Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks was the first team owner to promise wages to arena staff, though he has not yet figured out the specifics.
"I reached out to the folks at the arena and our folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to financially support people who aren't going to be able to come to work -- you know, they get paid by the hour, and this is their source of income," Cuban said during a press conference Wednesday. "We'll do some things there. We may ask them to go do some volunteer work in exchange, but we've already started the process of having a program in place. I don't have any details to give, but it's certainly something that's important to me."
Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler followed Cuban's lead, according to Bill Shea of The Athletic. This is one of the greater indirect threats that the world faces amidst this crisis. Even a healthy person has quite a bit to lose financially if they are unable to work due to public health closures, and that could have a crippling effect on the economy. The league and its players can't protect everyone from financial harm, but doing its part to help its own employees would seem to be a logical point of intervention. The NBA may not be obligated to pay its workers right now, but Love was not obligated to do so either. He did so, and the league should follow his lead.