NBA players use their platform to support local communities as a means to help combat the coronavirus

Courtesy of Giannis Antetokounmpo via Instagram

With COVID-19 disrupting the lives of millions around the world, many NBA athletes have used their resources to provide masks and other medical supplies to those in need. Some have made donations to different organizations fighting against the coronavirus while others donated masks and medical supplies to hospital workers.  

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2019 NBA MVP, donated 10,000 surgical masks to his hometown of Athens, Greece. Antetokounmpo also donated $100,000 to staff working at the Fiserv Forum as a gesture to support the lost wages of the many employees who were subsequently laid off due to the indefinite postponement of the NBA. The trend of donating to support arena employees was started by Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban when they announced on their social media platforms that they would donate funds to help support the lost wages of arena employees.

To assist the citizens in his home country, the Serge Ibaka Foundation started a COVID-19 relief program in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ibaka, a member of the 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors, has worked with his foundation to provide face masks and food products such as rice and pasta for over 8,000 families in Brazzaville. Additionally, the Serge Ibaka Foundation partnered with Fred Victor’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund to provide food and shelter to the homeless population in the Toronto area. 

Besides donating medical supplies, many athletes are finding other ways to support those in need during this global pandemic. Patrick Mills, a guard for the San Antonio Spurs, organized a fundraiser on Twitter in which he partnered with local coffee shops to help raise money for the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter. Mills and the many people who bought coffees on Mother’s Day raised $103,965.76 for the organization.

David Robinson, another former Spur, promoted awareness for the Spurs Give Together Fund. The fund will be used to assist those on the front line such as first responders as well as local businesses and families in the San Antonio area. Spurs Give, the organization behind the fund, has provided WiFi access to 800 families and have served over 500 meals to first responders. In addition, the organization partnered with the San Antonio Food Bank to help feed families who have been struggling with food insecurities during the pandemic. 

Another former NBA player has been making headlines for his philanthropic efforts to help combat the coronavirus. Jeremy Lin, who last played for the Raptors as a member of the 2019 Championship team, donated $500,000 to Direct Relief and Feeding America. Direct Relief has donated 1.4 million masks and 2.6 million gloves to thousands of healthcare workers while Feeding America has helped feed those facing a hunger crisis. Lin has also donated over $100,000 to assist the citizens living in Wuhan, China.

While the pandemic may be causing panic and uncertainty in the lives of millions around the world, many NBA athletes have used their platform to support communities and provide donations to organizations that assist families, the homeless or healthcare workers.