Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson pledge to help arena workers

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson became the latest stars to say they will make a donation to aid arena employees who will be unable to work while the NBA season is indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

Antetokounmpo tweeted Friday that he will pledge $100,000 to Fiserv Forum staff.

After the season was suspended on Wednesday night, the Bucks emailed Fiserv Forum employees and told them that if they were on the schedule for Thursday's game between Milwaukee and Boston, those staff members would still be paid a guaranteed three-hour minimum because the game was canceled less than 24 hours before staff was expected to be at the arena.

The email also said "no one associated with the Arena has tested positive for COVID-19."

Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry tweeted that the team would match Antetokounmpo's pledge.

Williamson posted to Instagram that he will cover the salaries of Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days.

Williamson, the 19-year-old No. 1 overall pick, wrote on his Instagram post: "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."

He went on to write about how many of those same people are still in recovery mode from Hurricane Katrina recovery in 2005.

Williamson said his mother, Sharonda Anderson, set an example for him and that's why he's covering the salaries.

He finished his post by writing: "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."

As the No. 1 overall pick, Williamson is set to make $9.757 million this year as a part of his four-year, $44.2 million dollar deal. He's also picked up national endorsement deals with Jordan, Gatorade, Panini America, Mercedes-Benz, Fanatics, Beats, Mountain Dew and 2K Sports.

The donations fromAntetokounmpo and Williamson follow one pledged Thursday by Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, whoannounced on Instagram that he would be donating $100,000 through the Kevin Love Fund to support Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse staff in Cleveland.

On Thursday, Love told ESPN's Dave McMenamin, "My hope is that others will step up!"

Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky donated $100,000 to part-time workers at the Panthers' arena. The donation was matched by his teammates and ownership also made a pledge.

Ilitch Companies, the group that owns the NHL'sDetroit Red Wings and MLB'sDetroit Tigers, announced that it set up a $1 million fund to compensate part-time arena and event staff members for one month.

"Our sincere hope is that this provides comfort to our colleagues in this difficult time," Ilitch Companies said in a statement. "When events resume, we look forward to our colleagues being safely back to work as normal."

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment co-managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer also said Friday they will pay all New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center part-time event and game-day employees the wages they would have earned for the remainder of the NHL season.

"We realize the suspension of our Devils games and concerts has created an unintended hardship for the men and women who provide for their families and believe our commitment to them in this unprecedented time is imperative," Harris said.

"These are the folks that feel like family every time I step in the arena, so it's natural to show our support," Blitzer added.

ESPN's Eric Woodyard contributed reporting.

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