The Milwaukee Bucks, NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and All-Star Khris Middleton will collectively donate $400,000 to part-time employees at Fiserv Forum who are temporarily out of work as the coronavirus outbreak sparks a wave of event delays and cancellations. Antetokounmpo took to Twitter Friday afternoon, announcing plans to donate $100,000 to Fiserv Forum staff. An hour later, Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry tweeted that the organization will match Antetokounmpo's donation, and the Bucks followed with a tweet that it would match donations from all players on the team. Later in the day Middleton announced we would also donate $100,000 for the arena staff and the team said it would match it.
It’s bigger than basketball! And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier. Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together! 🙏🏽
"Everyone who works at Fiserv Forum is part of our family," Lasry said in an interview with BizTimes Milwaukee on Friday afternoon. Fiserv Forum employs approximately 1,000 service and hospitality workers who earn an hourly wage, meaning their work depends on the arena's activation. Lasry said the donations will benefit those part-time employees who are directly affected by changes to the arena's event schedule. "Through no fault of their own these events are being canceled, and we want make sure that people are able to get through this difficult time," Lasry said. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak shook the nation this week as the stock market crashed, large-scale events were canceled and schools and businesses paused operations. The National Basketball Association suspended its season for at least 30 days, which postpones the six remaining home games of the Bucks' regular season. Major concerts scheduled for March and April at the arena have been postponed. As of now, all other events booked at the arena through March have also been postponed, said Lasry. Local businesses are already taking a hit. Details on how and when employees will collect their donations have yet to be worked out between the Bucks and labor unions, but Lasry said the funds will be made available "as soon as we possibly can." "This is a very fluid situation," he said. Antetokounmpo and Middleton are not the only NBA players to pledge their support for arena staff in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Cleveland Cavaliers all-star Kevin Love announced over social media on Thursday that he will donate $100,000 to the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse workers. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert followed suit with a pledge to cover workers' salaries during the NBA suspension. Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons and Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans have made similar pledges to financially support their respective arena's staff members. The players, coaches and owners of the Golden State Warriors are contributing $1 million for a community relief fund, some of which will go to workers at their arena.
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