Over the last three weeks, the pressure has been on NBA owners. As the league suspended operations for the time being, the higher-ups had to consider some tough business decisions, which could end up giving the franchise a bad look in the short term.
Philadelphia 76ers Managing Partner, Josh Harris, essentially became the guinea pig for league owners last week. Knowing he wanted to save money during a dark period due to the coronavirus pandemic, Harris was looking to force pay cuts for his employees.
In a report, which was later confirmed by Harris-Blitzer's CEO, Scott O'Neil, Sixers salary-based employees, who were making over $50,000 this year, were going to be asked to take a pay cut of up to 20-percent. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, other NBA owners were watching to see the results before making moves of their own.
To no surprise, the idea didn't go over well with the public, which resulted in tons of backlash for Harris and the 76ers' organization. Not even 24 hours later, Harris decided to walk back his decision to offer up pay cuts, and he will take the financial loss instead.
Still, after publicly admitting he was wrong, Harris was collecting virtual hate mail from all over. This week, however, critics are either singing a different tune -- or not even discussing Harris at all. Regardless of how fans feel about the Sixers Managing Partner, the guy is bouncing back in a big way as he's made multiple large donations every day this week.
On Monday, Harris and his Co-Partner, David Blitzer, offered up a generous donation to a Philly-based non-profit, Philabundance. As Sixers star point guard, Ben Simmons has spent a lot of his time lately promoting Philabundance; his influence worked on Harris as he made a "six-figure" contribution to them.
Hours later, Harris upped the ante and offered up a seven-figure donation to the Philadelphia School District. Since students are currently out of the classroom, they need the correct technology to continue to get their education. Therefore, Harris purchased 10,000 Chromebooks for the district.
That was it for Monday's contributions, but the generosity didn't stop there. On Tuesday, Harris shifted focus from Philly towards New Jersey. As an owner of New Jersey's NHL team too, Harris felt the need to take care of both cities his pro teams represent. So another six-figure donation from Harris was in store for RWJBarnabas, which is a network of independent healthcare providers in New Jersey.
Harris may never become a fan-favorite in the eyes of many Sixers or Devils fans, but it's hard to discredit what the teams' Managing Partner has done over the last 48 hours. Whether it's an attempt to 'save face' after last week's debacle or not, the generosity of the Harris-Blitzer Group as of late deserves applause.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_