Zion Williamson pledges to cover the salaries of stadium workers who have been affected by the NBA’s stoppage in heartfelt Instagram post

Zion Williamson said his mother's teachings inspired him to ensure Pelicans' stadium workers would be taken care of through the NBA's stoppage.

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Zion Williamson said his mother’s teachings inspired him to ensure Pelicans’ stadium workers would be taken care of through the NBA’s stoppage.
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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
  • The NBA world was brought to a standstill on Wednesday night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • After the stoppage was made official, fans and reporters began raising concerns over what would happen to the hourly workers who help keep the league running in stadiums across the country and depend on the wages from games played in front of fans.
  • On Friday, New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson pledged to cover the salaries of employees that worked at his home arena, the Smoothie King Center, through the NBA’s stoppage.
  • “These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization,” Williamson wrote in an Instagram post announcing his pledge.
  • Around the league, players and teams have been making similar commitments in a show of solidarity.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson pledged to help support stadium workers at the Smoothie King Center, through the NBA’s stoppage.

In a heartfelt Instagram post on Friday night, Williamson wrote that he would cover the salaries of stadium workers through the next 30 days after the NBA season was put on hold in response to the coronavirus.

“These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization,” Williamson wrote. “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.”

He continued:

“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.”

Williamson was drafted by the Pelicans as the top overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He started the season dealing with an injury and thus has only played in 19 games so far in his professional career.

Despite his limited time in the league, he’s clearly already carrying himself as a leader.

View this post on Instagram

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.

A post shared by Zion Williamson (@zionwilliamson) on

The NBA halted play on Wednesday night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.

While the move changes the shape of the season in terms of basketball, it also affects the lives of thousands of hourly workers in stadiums and arenas across the league, many of whom depend on packed games to earn a living through the season.

On Wednesday night, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a similar commitment to Williamson, saying that the franchise had already been working on a plan to support their hourly workers while the season was in limbo.

Since then, several owners and players around the league have made similar pledges in an impressive show of solidarity.

It may be a while until the NBA season starts up again, but the league is clearly making an effort to ensure those that help the game run so smoothly are taken care of in the interim.

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