David Griffin Praises Zion Williamson for Helping Arena Workers Amid COVID-19

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMarch 22, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  MARCH 8: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans smiles during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8, 2020 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Sherman/Getty Images

Zion Williamson has played 19 NBA games, but the New Orleans Pelicans rookie No. 1 overall pick has already earned respect from people in and around the league.

Count Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin among them.

"When you see it start with a 19-year-old kid, it gives you a great deal of comfort in the future of this franchise that it's in the right hands from a player perspective," Griffin told reporters Saturday, referencing Williamson vowing to cover the salaries of all employees at the Smoothie King Center for 30 days.

Williamson announced his financial commitment on March 13, two days after the NBA announced it was suspending all games because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:

Gayle Benson, the owner of the Pelicans and NFL's New Orleans Saints, donated $1 million to create the Gayle Benson Community Fund to use for COVID-19 relief.

Outside of New Orleans, stars such as reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo have chipped in to help those financially affected by the NBA's hiatus:

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Former President Barack Obama praised them for their generosity:

Williamson made his 2019-20 regular-season debut on Jan. 22 after an arthroscopic knee surgery performed on Oct. 21 kept him sidelined. Since hitting the floor, the Duke product is averaging 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 29.7 minutes across 19 starts.

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