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Kindness in the time of coronavirus

/ 05:10 AM March 20, 2020

As Hallmark holidays go, “Random Acts of Kindness” Day fell on the 17th day of last month. Now in the time of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), there’s this compelling reason to consider being kind every day.“Giving help to others is a win-win for all,” said Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Willie Marcial. “The act makes both the giver and receiver feel better.”

When Marcial, who rose from league statistician to “healing” commissioner, talks about sports and life, we’d do well to listen.

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Without fanfare, Marcial recently made provisions to co­ver the lost income of game day personnel while the world’s second-oldest professional basketball league next to the NBA, its rich cousin, goes dark indefinitely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PBA stopped all activities right after the March 8 opening of the current Philippine Cup. “We planned to resume playing on March 27 but due to the worse­ning pandemic, our hiatus will have to be extended until further notice,” Marcial said.

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The commissioner said the 12-team league will cover the wages of at least 25 people—statisticians, table officials and game day crews—because of the abrupt pause of the season. Meantime, the PBA corps of referees will continue to receive their monthly salaries.

He said out of the goodness of their hearts, six players and two coaches have secretly chipped in to help the workers the league depends on to host PBA games wherever they are played.

Marcial also reported with guarded optimism that all PBA players are COVID-19-free and that everyone in the league—from the owners, coaches, governors, officials down to utility people—are doing well.

“That’s because each team has measures and guidelines for everybody to follow during the health crisis.”

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Following the lead of Pelicans star rookie Zion Williamson and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, people are also helping out lower paid workers of the NBA’s arenas.

As of Friday last week, several players, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Love and Rudy Gobert, and almost half of NBA teams said they were finalizing efforts to reimburse workers for lost wages while the premiere basketball tournament in the universe goes dark indefinitely.

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The employees range from ushers, concession vendors and ticket takers who work for the arenas and also part-time employees like musicians and game-night performers.

The 19-year old Williamson started the ball rolling when he pledged to cover the salaries of the workers at the Pelicans’ home arena, the Smoothie King Center, for the next 30 days.

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TAGS: coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Random Acts of Kindness, Willie Marcial
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