How NBA has led sports world in assists during coronavirus pandemic

How NBA has led sports world in assists during coronavirus pandemic

The man who leads all active NBA players in career 3-point-shooting percentage spent a portion of his weekend making a generous, unsolicited contribution to society.

Not Steph Curry, who is No. 3 on the list.

His brother, Seth, is No. 1.

With dozens of first responders addressing the COVID-19 coronavirus by staffing mobile testing sites and the emergency operations center in greater Dallas, Seth Curry fed them. Dug into his pocket on Saturday and paid for 115 meals from a local Italian restaurant. It was a wonderful gesture toward workers on the front line of the fight against this global pandemic.

Moreover, it was a humanitarian act by a sports team pitching in to fill a void that that otherwise might remain empty. Every member of the Dallas Mavericks has, according to Dallas Morning News beat writer Brad Townsend, pledged to participate in this daily commitment. Kristaps Porzingis was scheduled to buy meals on Sunday.

Furthermore, it’s another effort from the NBA, the first American professional sports league unanimous in voluntarily extending various means of support to arena workers and others needing assistance as the coronavirus ravages the economy while raging through the country and the world beyond.

 The NBA isn’t alone in its desire to reach out.

Each of the 30 MLB teams has, in an organized gesture, pledged $1 million in assistance to event workers certain to lose pay when Opening Day, originally scheduled for Thursday, was postponed indefinitely.

The NHL entered the weekend with 30 of its 31 teams, including the Sharks, committed to providing aid to those losing wages with the absence of games. The last holdout, the Boston Bruins, bowed to public and governmental pressure and on Saturday pledged $1.5 million.

With the NFL preseason still more than four months away, it’s premature to announce a plan for games that might be played as scheduled. Several players and team owners, however, have made individual pledges to donate financial aid in the fight against the coronavirus.

The NBA, however, was the first to crack open its safes and start pulling out funds. The league where players and owners have been criticized for being selfish, sometimes rightfully so, is setting the sports pace in this beautiful outbreak of selflessness.

Zion Williamson, the dynamic 19-year-old New Orleans Pelicans rookie, grabbed the baton from Mavs owner Mark Cuban, pledging to pay the salaries of all Smoothie King Center workers through the end of the regular season. One after another, players and teams joined the cause.

If you’re looking for a sports-world catalyst, someone particularly determined to help in comprehensive ways, you’d probably start with Cuban.

Since March 11, when Cuban promised to offer aid shortly after the NBA announced it was suspending the season -- the last game was played that night in Dallas -- all 30 teams have fallen in line, making pledges to aid those directly affected or afflicted by this global pandemic.

"I reached out to the folks at the arena and our folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to support, financially support, people who aren't going to be able to come to work," Cuban said. "They get paid by the hour, and this was their source of income. So, we'll do some things there. We may ask them to go do some volunteer work in exchange, but we've already started the process of having a program in place.

"I don't have any details to give, but it's certainly something that's important to me."

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What’s most impressive is that Cuban didn’t stop there. He also vowed to reimburse all team employees for lunches and coffees purchased at local independent restaurants. With two players, Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell, pitching in, Cuban last Friday donated $500,000 to pay child-care expenses for healthcare workers at two local medical centers.

And now the Mavericks, following Cuban’s lead, are providing meals to workers often unappreciated.

Seth Curry might hold a slight lead on his big brother in 3-point shooting accuracy, but he can’t be expected to match Steph’s philanthropic efforts. That’s OK, as feeding those dedicated helping society in a time of crisis is bigger than any shot he’ll ever take.

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

While the NBA is inching closer to resuming the 2019-20 season, Europe's top league decided not to pursue the same avenue.

The EuroLeague announced Monday that it was canceling the remainder of its 2019-20 season.

Each EuroLeague team had played 28 of their 34 regular-season games.

Ordinarily, the EuroLeague ending its season wouldn't be news for the Warriors and their fans.

But 2020 has been a completely different year for the Warriors. Mired in a 15-50 season, Golden State will have a top-5 pick in this year's NBA draft.

That means 19-year-old Israeli prospect Deni Avdija, who plays for Maccabi Tel-Aviv, is on the Warriors' radar. NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole reported at the end of April that the Warriors have traveled to Europe to take a look at Avdija, who could be a top-5 draft pick.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

With the Warriors missing the playoffs this season, the team was going to use the unexpected free time in May to go scout prospects in Europe. Coach Steve Kerr reportedly was supposed to go watch Killian Hayes and Théo Maledon, while Kent Lacob, director of team development, was going to scout Avdija. But the coronavirus pandemic forced the Warriors to cancel those travel plans.

Due to travel restrictions, the Warriors likely wouldn't have been able to send anyone to watch Avdija play in the final six EuroLeague games had they been played, but they could have at least gotten six more games worth of film on him.

Now, they will have to form their opinion of Avdija with the in-person scouting they've already done and the film they have on hand.

In 21 games this season against Israel Basketball Super League competition, Avdija averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 26.6 minutes.

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Avdija hasn't gotten as much playing time in the EuroLeague, so his numbers aren't great. In 26 games against better competition, he's averaging 4.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.2 minutes.

We don't know when the NBA will hold the 2020 draft, but if the Warriors select Avdija, we'll know that they saw enough of him before the coronavirus put a stop to basketball around the world.

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Sunday’s “The Match,” featuring a showdown between NFL stars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady along with PGA icons Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods was a smashing success. The event raised $20 million for coronavirus relief in the United States, and was the highest-rated golf event in cable television history.

The access and humorous trash talk throughout has led many to speculate as to which duo from sports could be part of the next iteration of the event. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd discussed this on Monday and posed some interesting potential pairings.

"Michael has always let it be known that he's pretty good at golf," Cowherd said. "Steph is easily the best current NBA golfer, that I would pay to see."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Steph Curry tweeted Sunday that he’d like to be included next time around, and sure enough Cowherd first mentioned a duel between the Warriors star and another NBA icon with North Carolina roots in Michael Jordan. MJ was shown to play golf frequently throughout his NBA career during ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” and continues to be a fan of the sport.

Curry is an avid golf fan and was glued to his television Sunday during “The Match.” He’s played in some professional golf events in the past, and always is among the best current athletes at the celebrity-laden American Century Championship each summer in Lake Tahoe.

Given MJ’s propensity to trash talk during his historic NBA career, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be trading barbs constantly with Curry. Steph’s confidence never has been in question and he likely would have plenty of fun going back and forth with Jordan.

[RELATED: Who Warriors fans think Steph Curry should team up with in 'The Match']

Throwing a couple PGA pros in, especially two who are avid NBA fans could make for some great conversation. As we saw throughout Sunday’s foursome, Mickelson and Woods were more than willing to engage and dish out some one-liners.

MJ likely wouldn’t be thrilled about being mic’d up for an entire round with no editorial control. But if both parties would be willing, this would be the most highly-anticipated event in the history of golf.

Plus we finally could settle that pesky debate of which team was more dominant between Curry’s 2016-17 Warriors and Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls.