The NBA is in the midst of a 30-day hiatus at a minimum — well to be fair, we’re just days into a nightmare of sorts for game action-starved fans far and wide — as the the COVID-19 pandemic has suspended play for the time being across all sporting platforms. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether the 2019-20 regular season and playoffs can be saved, but the players have suddenly been blessed with the gift — or curse — of free time.
Zion Williamson deserves the first paragraph of the main body of this article because he announced on Instagram yesterday that he was going to pay the salaries for all Smoothie King Center workers over the next 30 days.
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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.
It’s an incredibly gracious gesture for a 19-year-old who is wise beyond his years, but we’ve known since New Orleans picked him first overall in the 2019 NBA Draft that Zion had the potential to be more than just a phenom.
“He’s certainly a special basketball player,” Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski once said of Williamson. “But as a youngster, he has a maturity — it’s uncommon. It really is uncommon.”
As many have eloquently said, Zion gets it.
Lonzo Ball, who was eager to get some shots up right after the Pelicans-Kings matchup was canceled this past Wednesday, was apparently able to satisfy that desire earlier today inside the Pelicans’ practice facility in Metairie.
According to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez, New Orleans’ practice facilty is open to all players wanting to get some work in, like honing their jump shots or maintaining their conditioning (notice the ice packs on Lonzo’s knees), but it sounds like the team is yet to write anything in stone regarding future team practices or scrimmages.
Josh Hart, meanwhile, has given us a glimpse into his daily life via his Instagram and Twitter accounts. He’s posted a screen shot of a video game on his computer — yeah, he’s an avid gamer, a couple of videos involving his dog — which included a trip to The Dog Stop in Metairie, and issued a 30-day challenge to finish the following jigsaw puzzle.
Sorry everyone, this isn’t the news you want, but it’s all we’ve got at this point. Begone soon coronavirus!