Sports stars shining a light on those in need during coronavirus pandemic
Professional athletes are stepping up to help those affected by work stoppages
Within a day of the NBA announcing the suspension of the rest of the 2019-20 season, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love announced that he would be donating $100,000 to the staff members at the team’s arena who would otherwise go unpaid during a protracted work stoppage. Almost immediately, a cluster of NBA players followed Love’s lead, pitching in hundreds of thousands of dollars to their respective teams’ arena and support staff, which at that point had not yet received word from their employers on their work status.
Love and his colleagues’ actions even inspired at least 21 team owners to either create funds to compensate hourly workers or create plans that will assist workers through what could be upward of three to five months of no NBA games. Below you will find the list of American professional athletes who have announced plans to donate to either their team’s support staff or organizations assisting in relief efforts due to the coronavirus. This list will be updated regularly.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Organization: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse staff.
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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.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Organization: Fiserv Forum staff.
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
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Organization: Smoothie King Center staff.
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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.
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Organization: Vivint Smart Home Arena staff; coronavirus-affected families in Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City; French health care system.
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.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 14, 2020
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Organization: Mayo Clinic.
@MayoClinic has begun rolling out a test to detect the virus that causes COVID-19. My hope is that we can fight this virus quicker and more efficiently by increasing the testing capabilities and availability and Mayo Clinic’s overall COVID-19 response. pic.twitter.com/af9vcO711p
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) March 16, 2020
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Organization: Granite School’s District Seamless Summer Feeding Program.
📖| “My mom’s career in education made me value children and the importance of academics, and I want to make sure that kids can continue to eat a meal while they can’t go to school.”https://t.co/G3z3D7IeZd
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 16, 2020
J.J. Watt, Houston Texans and Kealia Ohai, Chicago Red Stars
Organization: Houston Food Bank.
Sports stars @JJWatt and @KealiaOhai made a generous donation to the Houston Food Bank so we can continue to serve our community during this time of great need. Thank you both for helping us remain a safety net for southeast Texas! https://t.co/bcQO25dVSv
— Houston Food Bank (@HoustonFoodBank) March 15, 2020
Jeremy Lin, Beijing Ducks
Love melts hate. Light outshines darkness. Be apart of the change you wanna see. Stay together, much love ❤️. Join me and @UNICEFUSA as we donate to make global impact for those that will indirectly be affected by #Covid_19 https://t.co/8GfChXF7OA pic.twitter.com/x1VrJd9BeQ
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) March 14, 2020
Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons
Organization: Little Caesars Arena staff.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Organization: Alameda County Community Food Bank.
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
Trevor Bauer, Cincinnati Reds
Organization: Major League Baseball staff.
We’ve started a GoFundMe to help support stadium workers displaced by our season postponement. Please join us and consider donating: https://t.co/DyEKdvwtpW
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) March 14, 2020
Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Organization: Houston Food Bank.
Pledge: 1,000 quarantine food kits.
With our help, @HoustonFoodBank is assembling quarantine food kits so our students and their families don’t need to worry about their next 28 meals. Please join me in helping our community, every little bit counts! https://t.co/fr7eCRGvNP https://t.co/XpOxyeu9XU
— Alex Bregman (@ABREG_1) March 14, 2020
George Springer, Houston Astros
Organization: Minute Maid Park.
Astros' Springer donates $100K to Minute Maid Park employees https://t.co/YMJkAnDx2U
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) March 14, 2020
Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos
Organization: Food Bank of the Rockies.
Pledge: 20,000 meals.
— Brandon McManus (@thekidmcmanus) March 16, 2020
Charlotte Hornets roster
Organization: Spectrum Center staff.
UPDATE: Hornets Sports & Entertainment, its ownership and Charlotte Hornets players announced that they have partnered to establish a fund to provide financial assistance to HSE part-time employees.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) March 15, 2020
Orlando Magic roster
Organization: Magic, Amway Center staff.
DeVos Family pledges up to $2 million for Magic and Amway Center hourly workers
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) March 16, 2020
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Organization: Food Lifeline.
Pledge: One million meals.
The world needs us ALL. Unprecedented times. @DangeRussWilson & I are supporting our community in Seattle by donating 1 million meals with Seattle @FoodLifeLine https://t.co/3FlJi9GU2G Rally & support your local food bank @FeedingAmerica
Let’s all keep the Faith during this time pic.twitter.com/kqwkuh50pi
— Ciara (@ciara) March 18, 2020
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Pledge: 6,000 meals.
As the world endures a difficult time due to COVID-19, I am happy to partner with @harvesters to donate 6,000 meals to families. I’m challenging @patrickmahomes @killatrav @demarcusrobinson @gehrigdieter @mathieu_era @stonecoldjones95 @TheRealFrankC_ pic.twitter.com/wCGDQXPJOO
— Ty Hill (@cheetah) March 16, 2020
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Organization: Harvesters; Operation Breakthrough.
Pledge: 6,000 meals; food and supplies.
Let’s go @cheetah!! I got your 6k and will raise you another 6k meals thru @harvestersorg! But we can’t leave our friends @OB_Inc_KC hanging, so we’re going to donate all the food & supplies for the next 15 weeks to keep it business as usual for the kids!! Much love KC! ❤️💛
— Travis Kelce (@tkelce) March 17, 2020
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Organization: Harvesters; Kansas City Public Schools lunch programs.
Pledge: 15,000 meals; $100,000.
Yessir! You can count me in for 15,000 meals for @HarvestersORG.
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) March 17, 2020
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Organization: Atlanta Community Food Bank and Giving Kitchen.
Matt Ryan is planning to donate $100,000 to help those in Atlanta impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. https://t.co/XOUj36FghU
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) March 17, 2020
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Organization: Fiserv Forum staff.
Giannis Antetokounmpo got the ball rolling with a pledge of $100,000 on Friday. Later in the day, his all-star teammate Khris Middleton added $100,000 of his own. Now the entire team has pitched in – https://t.co/izdeb2lE4P pic.twitter.com/PFsdlDvVTo
— Staff Up America (@StaffUpAmerica) March 15, 2020
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Organization: Phoenix Suns Charities.
.@DevinBook tips off Twitch fundraising campaign with $100,000 donation in support of COVID-19 relief efforts.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 19, 2020
Luka Dončić, Dwight Powell and Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks
Organization: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital.
The Dallas Mavericks announced today that Mark Cuban, Luka Dončić and Dwight Powell have teamed up with the Dallas Mavericks Foundation to donate $500,000 to support childcare for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response effort during this unprecedented time. pic.twitter.com/6yBsKCs7f5
— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) March 20, 2020
Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins
Organization: Houston Independent School District and Meals on Wheels.
In our efforts to battle the COVID-19 outbreak in our hometown of Houston, we are donating $100,000 to further aid and support senior citizens and students.
— Adrian & Ashley Peterson Family Foundation (@AAPFFoundation) March 21, 2020
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Organization: U.S. Virgin Islands college students.
Pledge: Airplane tickets.
Tim Duncan paying for college students in U.S. Virgin Islands to get home during coronavirus crisis https://t.co/ubbUT5MaWJ
— mySA (@mySA) March 20, 2020
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles and Julie Ertz, Chicago Red Stars
Today, @ZERTZ_86 and @julieertz along with the Ertz Family Foundation are proud to announce a donation of $100K to @Philabundance, a Philadelphia-area food bank, to provide meals to those in need during the #COVID19 outbreak. For more information, visit https://t.co/wLbqeQfrzn pic.twitter.com/XPyMZGuDGU
— Ertz Family Foundation (@ErtzFoundation) March 20, 2020
Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles
— Ertz Family Foundation (@ErtzFoundation) March 21, 2020
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Organization: Feeding America.
Pledge: 12,500 meals.
I want to do my part and help my communities as much as I can during this difficult time. I’m starting off by committing 12,500 meals to the city of Seattle with @FeedingAmerica. As you know, I grew up here in Seattle and will always be #seattlestrong
— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) March 21, 2020
Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City Chiefs
Pledge: 30,000 meals.
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) March 20, 2020
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Organization: Feeding America; City Harvest.
Pledge: $323,000; 250,000 meals.
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Thank you all for the birthday love, I’m extremely grateful for the support. Seeing the effects of COVID-19 reach our loved ones, our schools, our jobs, and access to food has really impacted me. I am excited to partner with @feedingamerica and @lineagelogistics to launch the Share A Meal campaign to help marginalized communities get the food resources they require during this time, and to work with our local partner @cityharvestnyc to distribute 250k meals to my neighbors in need across the NY area. In addition to that I am donating $323k to Feeding America and @lineagelogistics will match $200k of what we raise together. I am asking my fans, friends, family and partners to join me in helping our communities by donating at the link in my bio. Thank you to everyone on the front line working to keep all of us safe, healthy, and fed. Together we can change the world one small gesture at a time.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Organization: COVID-19 medical relief; 76ers employees.
Pledge: $500,000; unknown.
Philadelphia 76ers star @JoelEmbiid has decided to pledge $500K to COVID-19 medical relief—to help survival and protection efforts in the community. AND he’s committed to helping Sixers employees who will suffer financial hardship in light of the franchise’s salary reductions.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) March 24, 2020
Marcus Mariota, Las Vegas Raiders
Organization: Kauluwela and Palolo elementary schools.
Pledge: 1,000 meals per day.
— Star-Advertiser (@StarAdvertiser) March 29, 2020
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Organization: Ben Taub Hospital.
Pledge: Meals for hospital personnel.
Time to work together. Share your rally cap and #DKRally and @draftkings will donate $1 to the @unitedway’s COVID-19 relief effort with a goal of $1 Million total. @justinverlander, @quincyavery, @jesselingard, you’re up now.
— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) March 30, 2020
Laremy Tunsil, Houston Texans
Organization: Florida Gateway Food Bank and the Star of Hope Mission.
.@KingTunsil78 donated $250K and offers to pay bills of those affected by COVID-19.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) March 31, 2020
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Organization: Los Angeles-area hospitals.
Pledge: Up to $250,000.
Thank you Lineage Logistics, @HelpFeedtheFro1 @WCKitchen for helping me help the community. Thankful that together we are getting jobs to the great Staples Center staff and meals from local restaurants to our heroes in healthcare. pic.twitter.com/8D9iKtjVwm
— Anthony Davis (@AntDavis23) March 27, 2020
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
Organization: City of Houston.
Carlos Correa donates $500K in medical equipmenthttps://t.co/KVLcFEqLho
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) March 27, 2020
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Organization: Forgotten Harvest, Detroit Public School system and Michigan hospital workers.
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For all of you in Michigan who are putting your own health and life on the line to take care of others, we are all in such debt to you. Matthew and I wanted to make sure that you knew how much we appreciate you and what you are doing and so did these restaurants we partnered with.. so please, if you are an employee of a hospital, please have whatever meal you want from any of these restaurants above… on the Staffords. This is for take-out only so everyone stays safe. It is limited to 3 meals per pickup. Please mention you work for a hospital when you call to place your order and please bring with you your hospital badge to show when you come to pick up your food! This is such a crazy, scary time in life and we couldn’t imagine what your days are like on the front line of it all. Please know we are thinking about y’all, praying for y’all and how grateful we are for the selfless service you are providing. Restaurants: Roadside Bar and Grill Zingerman’s Deli Walgburgers Royal Oak Slows TO GO For more info, please click the link in my bio.
Jared Goff and Andrew Whitworth, Los Angeles Rams
Organization: United Way and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.
#Rams players #jaredgoff & #andrewwhitworth are funding 2-million meals for L.A. residents to help kick off a virtual telethon that will be hosted by the @Rams and @ABC7 on Tuesday. The telethon will benefit the @launitedway and the @LAFoodBank: https://t.co/bRGyndrQcM pic.twitter.com/3ebXgF7ZJ5
— LA Regional Food Bank (@LAFoodBank) March 22, 2020
Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
Organization: St. Mary’s Food Bank, Midwest Food Bank and Mother Teresa’s Cupboard.
Pledge: 150,000 meals.
"These are really tough times & it is important for me to do my part and help out."@chanjones55 is donating over 150,000 meals to food banks in both Arizona and his hometown of Endicott, NY to assist with families affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. pic.twitter.com/nHr5yXep0Z
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) March 26, 2020
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Organization: State of Louisiana.
Pledge: $5 million.
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Brittany and I are committing $5,000,000 to the State of Louisiana in 2020. The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time. After considerable research and conversations with local organizations, we will be mobilizing our partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health Systems, Walk-Ons, Jimmy Johns, Smalls Sliders and Waitr to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need. Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Organization: Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund and FeedMore WNY.
Can I also contribute? https://t.co/urZKPLgFvu
— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) March 25, 2020
Miroslav ‘Rusev’ Barnyashev, WWE
Organization: WWE staff.
In Bulgaria we say “ It’s not a lot but it’s from the heart” I pledge 20,000$ to any of my WWE extended family that are sitting at home without income. WE can’t do it without y’all. Production, security, etc. LOVE YALL.
— Miro (@RusevBUL) March 24, 2020
Dozens of athletes have also donated signed memorabilia to be auctioned by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund.