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Zion Williamson salary pledge: Pelicans rookie to help Smoothie King employees during suspended season

new orleans pelicans rookie zion williamson
Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson has pledged to help out Smoothie King Center employees. Pic credit: New Orleans Pelicans/YouTube

A Zion Williamson salary pledge for Smooth King Center employees during the NBA’s suspended season is showing an incredible amount of generosity on behalf of the rookie.

On Friday, the New Orleans Pelicans’ No. 1 draft pick promised to help out all of those people who normally work at the team’s arena because they’ll be out of work for the foreseeable future.

Zion pledges to help arena employees

On Wednesday, the sports world was shaken up when it was reported that Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. At first, it led to a postponed Jazz vs. Thunder gamer in Oklahoma City, but not long after, it was announced that the NBA season was suspended.

There were games on the schedule that took place during that night. The Pelicans vs. Kings game featuring rookie Zion Williamson did not take place.

That’s because a decision was made by both teams to postpone the game after the news of Gobert having a positive test came out. A referee who was going to be involved in the game had worked a game involving Gobert within the past 10 days.

Now, just days after the NBA making their big announcement, Zion took to his Instagram account to make an announcement of his own. The Pelicans’ rookie is pledging to cover the salaries of Smoothie King Arena employees for the next 30 days.

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

Williamson indicated in his pledge that many of the people working at Smoothie King Center are still recovering after the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in the area.

“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,” Williamson said in his post.

“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,” he also said.

The rookie was averaging 23.6 points, along with 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game after playing in 19 games. He was not a frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, but his team was still considered in the mix for a playoff spot.

“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 finished his IG post with.

Williamson’s current contract is for two years and $20 million, with his base salary for his rookie season set at $9.75 million, according to Spotrac details.

Giannis Antetokounmpo also vows to help

In addition to the news of Zion Williamson’s pledge to help employees of the New Orleans NBA arena, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is doing the same in his area.

Giannis, aka the “Greek Freak,” took to his Twitter account on Friday afternoon to make an announcement as well.

The reigning NBA MVP pledged $100,000 from him and his family to help out the Fiserv Forum staff during the suspended season.

Both acts of generosity arrive as there’s uncertainty about whether the suspended NBA season will ultimately resume and see the remaining games on the schedule played out.

On a special edition of NBA on TNT on Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that the league will be on hiatus for 30 days to decide the next steps for how to proceed.

There’s been talk that if the NBA returns, it could be for just the playoffs, with the remaining games on the schedule canceled.


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