NBA Cares Not Just a Slogan

Erik Gee

Say what you want to about professional athletes being overpaid, just don't say they don't care.  Danilo Gallinari is funding COVID-19 testing kits, face shields, gloves, gowns, and N95 masks for the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, while Rudy Gobert is donating half a million dollars to coronavirus relief efforts. 

Another example of NBA players stepping up comes from Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie. 18-year-old Fahad Saleem lost everything he owned during a house fire in March. 

Saleem was in class when a neighbor face-timed him showing him fire trucks going to his parents' home Sheepshead Bay. Saleem rushed to the house and was able to make into his room and salvage his Irving jersey, but his Dinwiddie jersey (along with everything else) was gone.  

Just days after the fire with his family in a hotel, Saleem made it to the Nets game with the Spurs. The Nets media relations department tweeted at Saleem during the game and invited him and his friends down to the court.

After the Nets beat San Antonio, Dinwiddie replaced the jersey lost in the fire. At the same time, the team took the Irving jersey to give to Kyrie, who was not at the Barclays Center because he was recovering from shoulder surgery.  A few weeks later, Saleem received a package with the smokey jersey signed by Irving. 

Irving wrote, "To whom much is given, even more, is required"...."With peace and love, we all can heal from life's unexpected events. I am grateful you are okay. Your friend, Kyrie."

For some, this may come across as merely good PR,  but, for fans, getting a selfie or an autograph or response on Twitter from their favorite athlete goes a long way. Dave Winfield signing my baseball when I was eight is still one of the biggest thrills I've had as a sports fan. 

Winfield earned my undying loyalty with one simple act that took maybe 90 seconds of his time. Gallinari and Gobert are doing much more than giving their time and money; they are helping people survive.  

The families who have been affected by COVID-19 will never forget how Gobert and Gallinari helped during their suffering. These players could quickly just push people to the side and live a world where their organizations and agents protect them. 

But if this pandemic is teaching us anything, it's that we are all human.  And even those who seem to be immune to surfing are being affected as well.  

In moments like this, is when real clutch players step up. In our world, the medical workers, restaurant cooks, Walmart shelf stockers, and first responders our those clutch players, Gallinari, Gobert, Irving, and Dinwiddie, are giving the assist.  

Durant Goes Down:

With the NBA being off for the foreseeable future, ESPN is hosting a player's 2K tournament. The seeding is based on the player's 2k ranking, which means Kevin Durant was the one seed. 

Durant was eliminated 16 seed, Derrick Jones Jr., on Friday.  The two played a 24-minute game in which Jones Jr. took the Bucks while Durant played as the Clippers. 

Final score 78-62 proving Durant can't be clutch even when the game is fake. (Sorry, not sorry)