During the competitive battle that is the NBA season, there is a tendency for the amazing work the 450 players do off of the court to get lost. Sure we love seeing our favorite players fly through the sky and do superhero-like things on the court, but the real impact they make on society happens in the community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt endless individuals and families in numerous aspects, but the union members have found ways to do their part in supporting those who are being affected by the virus. From supporting local hospitals who are on the front-lines of this battle, to showing efforts in distributing food for those who are having a hard time finding meals, the players are giving back to the community with hope to better it for when a return to “normal” resumes.
There are endless contributions that are coming from the 450 players that we can discuss. Right now, let's focus on the components that were mentioned above: support for local hospitals and food distribution.
The COVID-19 virus has affected the population worldwide; given that the game of basketball is such a global spectacle, it has allowed the league’s international players to contribute to the homes they came from through support to their hospitals. The contributions range from all over the world, from Danilo Gallinari providing operating support to create a temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients in his home country of Italy, to Bogdan Bogdanovic contributing to his home country of Serbia with personal protective equipment for medical professionals.
In an interview with Jason Jones of The Athletic, Bogdanovic discussed his reasons for his donation: “I feel like they need our help right now. It doesn’t matter where you donate, where you’re trying to help I feel like the whole world needs some kind help. So it’s good to be there (to help), especially in this tough time. I’m just following the example of others I saw and I hope I will be an example for someone else”.
State-side, the members are showing their commitment to helping the country with the most cases recorded in the world. D.J. Augustin has put forward his efforts to help those who are helping battle this virus by providing meals to frontline hospital workers in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Augustin’s ability to pass the ball on the hardwood may be what he’s known for best, but this may be his best assist yet. In an interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Augustin described his efforts towards the frontline workers: “The thing I like about it is we’re helping feed the frontline. The nurses, the doctors. They are going all day without eating, trying to help people that are sick while risking their health and lives to do so. I heard that they shut the [hospital] cafeterias because they don’t want people in the cafeterias cooking and congregating. I looked at it as not only would we be feeding them good quality meals and bring joy to them, but also helped local businesses in the city.”
Augustin’s success in providing meals for those helping save lives is admired, and it is only one way the union members are helping those who need help receive it. Another way union members are giving back to the community is through providing meals for low-income families, such as Stephen Curry’s efforts in Oakland, California.
The two-time MVP and three-time champion founded the foundation Eat.Learn.Play, which has pledged to provide 300,000 meals a week to Oakland residents over the next several months. The contributions made by the union members extend beyond the west coast, as all the way across the country in Orlando, Florida lives Jonathan Isaac who is similarly helping his community to Curry
A forward for the Orlando Magic, Isaac, is supporting food distribution efforts in Orlando, Florida, for families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the foundation ProjectLife, Isaac is able to help provide free hot meals to students and those who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all in countless ways, but the union members' support for those who need their help has been an act of kindness that gets us through each day.