Joel Embiid Pledges $500K to COVID-19 Relief, Plans to Help 76ers Employees

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid plays during an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has pledged to aid in coronavirus medical relief efforts and help financially support Sixers employees who are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Embiid is donating $500,000 "to help survival and protection efforts in the community."

Shelburne added that Embiid, in self-isolation since March 11, has been "studying the best ways to help the doctors and nurses on the front lines, who are treating patients with COVID-19."  

Embiid is also planning to lend a helping hand to 76ers employees who "will suffer financial hardship" as a result of the organization making pay cuts.

Per ESPNHarris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment CEO Scott O'Neil announced Monday that salaried, full-time employees of the Sixers and New Jersey Devils were notified that they would be subject to temporary pay cuts of up to 20 percent:

"As we navigate this evolving COVID-19 environment, we are mindful of the long-term impact the suspension of live events and games will have on our organization and industry. To ensure we can continue to support and operate our businesses during these uncertain times without reducing our workforce, we are asking our full-time, salaried employees to temporarily reduce their pay by up to 20 percent and move to a four-day week."

Both the 76ers and Devils are owned by Josh Harris.

According to ESPN, full-time employees who make at least $50,000 per year will be impacted by the pay cuts, and those who make $70,000 or more could see their pay cut by as much as 20 percent.

Both the NBA and NHL have suspended their current seasons due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this month, Comcast Spectacor President of Business Operations Valerie Camillo told EJ Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer that hourly employees who work at the Sixers' home arena, the Wells Fargo Center, would continue to be paid as scheduled through March 31.

With regard to Sixers and Devils salaried employees, Sixers general manager Elton Brand, Sixers President of Business Operations Chris Heck, and Devils team president Jake Reynolds have all agreed to reduced pay, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 26-year-old Embiid has been part of the 76ers organization since they selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

Despite missing his first two NBA seasons due to injury, Embiid has developed into a three-time All-Star and arguably the best center in the NBA. So far this season, Embiid is averaging 23.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 blocks per game in 44 contests.

When and if the 2019-20 NBA season continues, the Sixers will be tied for the fifth in the Eastern Conference with the Indiana Pacers at 39-26.

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