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COVID-19 News

NBA Teams and Players Unite In Support During Coronavirus Outbreak

Locally, Mavs’ Cuban, Doncic and Powell Donate $500,000 to Parkland/UT Southwestern Healthcare Workers

By Dorothy J. Gentry
Sports Editor

Since the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) shut down its season on March 11th, the majority of NBA players, their teams and the League itself has supported any and all efforts to combat the global virus that has brought the world to a virtual standstill.

Stars of the NBA, including the Mavs’ Luka Doncic, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson and reigning league MVP and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks –as well as several team owners – have committed to helping cover the lost income of arena employees since the season was suspended.

Mavs Guard Luka Doncic (Photo Credit: Jameelah Johnson)

On March 13th, Williamson said that he will cover the salaries for all of the Pelicans’ arena staff workers for the next 30 days on his Instagram page. Antetokounmpo has donated $100,000 to the Bucks’ staff at Fiserv Forum. Bucks officials said soon after that they would match his contribution. Cleveland Cavalier Kevin Love made the same commitment of $100,000 for Cavaliers’ arena staff. Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert – the first player to test positive for COVID-19 – has donated $500,000 for arena employees and relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and his native France. 

“NBA teams, arena owners and players are working together in partnership to support arena employees impacted by our season hiatus,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement last week. “Within the last day, many have already announced their plans while others are in the process of formulating them.”

Local Response

Locally, the Dallas Mavericks – the team at the forefront of this move to assist arena workers – recently announced that owner Mark Cuban, star guard Luka Doncic and center Dwight Powell have teamed up with the Dallas Mavericks Foundation to donate $500,000 to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital. 

Mavs Center Dwight Powell (Photo Credit: Charles “City” Gdabedo)

The donated funds will be allocated to support childcare for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.

“We can’t thank our healthcare workers enough for putting their patients’ well-being before their own,” Cuban said. “I am thankful to Luka and Dwight as we partner up to support healthcare workers who are doing everything they can to keep our community healthy.”

Daniel K. Podolsky, MD, president of UT Southwestern, said the Mavs’ $500,000 donation will ease the burden of many healthcare workers on  the frontlines of the fight against the Coronavirus.

“We are deeply grateful to the entire Dallas Mavericks organization, and especially to Mark, Dwight and Luka, for their incredible generosity in providing emergency childcare funding benefitting the frontline healthcare workers of UT Southwestern and Parkland,” he said.

Mavs Owner Mark Cuban (Photo Credit: Dorothy J. Gentry)

“This will alleviate a tremendous burden faced by so many nurses, physicians, lab technicians and other care team members working nonstop on our COVID-19 response. Having support for childcare will be one less thing they have to worry about.”

UT Southwestern and Parkland frontline caregiving staff include inpatient intensivists, advanced practice practitioners, physicians, nurses, phlebotomists, sonographers, radiology technicians, transporters, lab technicians and pharmacists. Additionally, support staff includes front desk staff, medical assistants and janitorial staff who are critical to the functioning of an urgent care environment. Allocation of the funds to individual staff will be made as expeditiously as possible.

“Thank you to our amazing healthcare workers,” said Doncic. “They are sacrificing so much to care for others, and I am honored to help.”

Added Powell: “We are extremely grateful for the amazing bravery shown by our health professionals during this difficult time. We feel it’s our duty to do whatever we can to support their efforts. We continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene, while hoping this fund helps prevent families from further hardship as a result of their sacrifice.” 

Support for Nonprofits

The Mavs’ efforts to support the local community and nonprofits across North Texas affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 has not stopped with the above measures. The Mavs Foundation is contributing $100,000 to area nonprofits that are providing support for individuals and families affected by COVID-19.

North Texas area nonprofits receiving donations from the Mavs Foundation include the North Texas Food Bank, VNA Texas Meals on Wheels, Minnie’s Food Pantry, Community Food Bank of Fort Worth, Hunger Busters, Senior Source, CitySquare, Hope Supply Co., Communities Foundation of Texas and the North Texas Community Response Fund. The Mavs will also make a donation of Kroger gift cards to students and families in need of food from Dallas ISD.

“There are so many people who need help right now. We want to do our part to get them the support they need,” said Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. “Whether it’s by giving time or helping with funds, we are ready to make a difference in the lives of our fellow community members. We’re all in this together!”

Mavericks center Maxi Kleber also donated a $20,000 gift to CitySquare to ensure local students still have access to the third meal of the day usually provided by now-closed after-school sites.

The Mavericks organization is also partnering with Mayor Eric Johnson and the City of Dallas by having Mavericks players share public service announcements, as well as with the Dallas Independent School District to feed families and support virtual learning for its students.

To spread awareness and minimize the spread of COVID-19, the Mavericks are also providing 100,000 units of hand sanitizer to nonprofits, police and civic organizations.

Latest NBA News

Since the announcement that the Association suspended the 2019-2020 season, the NBA went one step further on March 20th and shut down all team-training facilities to staff and players to mitigate the Coronavirus situation. Players are being encouraged to take aggressive measures to continue to avoid contact with others and remain home as much as possible.

No timetable has been set for when the NBA season will resume. 

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