Coronavirus: Players and teams are stepping up to take care of the arena workers impacted by the NBA’s hiatus


When the NBA made the shocking decision to halt the season amid the coronavirus outbreak, it set off a monumental chain reaction in the sports world. As the league as a whole tries to grapple with what will be a 30-day minimum break in the schedule, a lot of concern has been centered around arena staff and workers, who won’t receive paychecks with games being postponed.

There isn’t a uniform plan in place to compensate arena workers set by the league, but when the postponement was announced Wednesday night, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a commitment to pay all arena workers inside American Airlines Center. 

While talking to reporters after the Mavericks’ win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, Cuban said:

“I reached out to the folks at the arena and our folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to support, financially support, people who aren’t going to be able to come to work. They get paid by the hour, and this was their source of income. So, 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.”

Since Cuban made that decision, other teams and even players have followed suit and have announced plans to help compensate those workers who are typically paid by the hour. Here’s a running list of players and teams around the league stepping up to help the arena workers in their cities.

  • Atlanta Hawks: Team owner Tony Ressler told Hawks CEO Steve Koonin two weeks before the league decided to go on a hiatus that “if we shut down, we have to take care of our part-time employees,” as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sarah K. Spencer. 
  • Brooklyn Nets: In response to Nets’ guard Spencer Dinwiddie tweeting about taking care of non-salaried arena workers, team owner Joe Tsai responded by saying the franchise is putting a plan in place to help out Barclays Center staff.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love became the first player in the league to donate money to event staff at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse when he announced on social media that he would give $100,000 to those workers. The Cavaliers followed their star forward and announced on Twitter that they would be taking care of all hourly staff.
  • Dallas Mavericks: When the league announced postponement, team owner Mark Cuban wasted no time in making it clear that he would make sure all the employees who work events and games at the American Airlines Center would be paid during the hiatus.
  • Detroit Pistons: Blake Griffin will be donating $100,000 to the workers inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, per The Detroit News’ Rod Beard.
  • Houston Rockets: Team CEO Tad Brown said that the franchise is getting a plan together to take care of all hourly workers at Toyota Center, per The Houston Chronicle’s Johnathan Feigen.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo took to Twitter to announce that he will be donating $100,000 to workers at Fiserv Forum, saying “it’s bigger than basketball.”
  • New Orleans Pelicans: No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion Williamson, announced on his Instagram that he’s pledging to cover the salaries of all workers at Smoothie King Center for the next 30 days. In the post, Williamson said, “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.”
  • Philadelphia 76ers: The hourly workers at Wells Fargo Center will be compensated during the NBA’s hiatus, per NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. 
  • Washington Wizards: Team owner Ted Leonsis reportedly told Capital One Arena workers that they will be paid through March 31 for any Wizards or Capitals games they were scheduled to work, per The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir.

CBS Sports will continue to provide updates to this list when they become available. 





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