The New Orleans Pelicans support the NBA's decision to suspend the season amidst coronavirus concerns, the franchise said in a statement released late last week.
The Pelicans’ statement reads: “We fully support the NBA’s decision to suspend the season until further notice. The health and well-being of fans, players, coaches and staff will always be our organization’s top priority.”
With the NBA being suspended, there are issues regarding the well-being of the stadium workers as they will be without pay for at least the next 30 days, the minimum length this suspension will uphold, per NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
Arena workers such as ushers, concession vendors, security personnel, etc., are among those who will be out of work during this unprecedented crisis.
Insert Pelicans rookie, Zion Williamson.
The former Duke All-American announced Friday on his Instagram account that he will cover 30 days of salary for workers of the Smoothie King Center, the home arena for the New Orleans Pelicans.
“These are the folks who make our games possible,” Williamson wrote, “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.”
Williamson said he is making the donation because “my mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have.”
Zion’s offer is similar to those from a number of notable players around the league.
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo tweeted out that he and his family will donate $100,000 to those who work at Fiserv Forum, the Bucks arena, while Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said on Instagram he will be doing the same for those who work at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the Cavaliers’ arena.
Williamson has become an icon for Pelicans fans since they selected him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He is averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and has quickly become a fan favorite with his ability to fly through the air for spectacular dunks even as a 19-year-old with just 19 games under his belt.
This gesture will be a sure-fire way to keep Zion’s name in the hearts of Pelicans fans. Knowing how large his platform is and the impact he can make is something he has learned over the course of the last year and a half.
"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.”
Although we do not know when the NBA will resume its play, we do know that the future of the Pelicans is in good hands while Zion is at the helm.