Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he's investigating ways he can financially support team and employees and arena workers who won't be able to work due to the NBA's suspended season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuban did not provide specifics about his plan, but he said during a press conference on Wednesday that he has "already started the process of having a program in place" to pay workers whose income depends on NBA games.
"It's stunning, but we are where we are," Cuban said, according to ESPN. "We have to be smart in how we respond. This is people's lives at stakes. This isn't about basketball; this isn't about the Mavericks. This isn't about when do we start, do we start? Or how do we start? This is a pandemic, a global pandemic where people's lives are at stake. I'm a lot more worried about my kids and my mom, who is 82 years old -- in talking to her and telling her to stay in the house — than when we play in our next game."
Cuban added that the Mavericks' program might require employees to do "volunteer work."
“I reached out ... to find out what it would cost to financially support people who aren’t going to be able to come to work.”
–Mark Cuban on his plan for Mavericks employees during the NBA suspension pic.twitter.com/McOl1vHUqO
— ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2020
Amid the Mavericks 113-97 win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, league officials learned that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz had tested positive for COVID-19. The Jazz's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was subsequently postponed, and shortly after the NBA was suspending play until further notice.
During the Mavericks' game on Wednesday, sideline cameras captured Cuban's stunned reaction to the news that the NBA would not play games until further notice.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.