Former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury is among the many athletes lending a helping hand during the coronavirus pandemic. Fred Lee/Getty Images

How athletes are helping out during the COVID-19 pandemic

The sports world has ground to a halt as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused bans on large public gatherings amid orders to practice social distancing. The virus has exacted a staggering physical and economic toll on not just the United States but also the world at large. Despite not being able to play, athletes here and abroad have been pitching in to help out. Let's take a look at what some of the biggest stars in sports have been doing in response.

 
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Mike Scott

Mike Scott
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Scott made sure to take care of those working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, partnering with Red Bull to give 600 meals to the overnight staffers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Scott wanted in particular to make sure that overnight staffers were taken care of, owing to the fact that many charitable deeds focus on those working daylight hours.

 
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Alex Bregman

Alex Bregman
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Bregman’s method of fundraising was decidedly modern, with the Astros third baseman raising nearly $60,000 for the Houston Food Bank during a 24-hour Twitch streaming session. Bregman and other celebrities played various video games against one another and attracted nearly 800,000 views. The event was part of a larger overall charity push from Bregman, which started with his creation of the “FEEDHOU” initiative in April, an overarching fundraising campaign to benefit the Houston Food Bank, with Bregman’s $100,000 donation serving as the foundation.

 
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Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor
USA TODAY via Imagn Content Services, LLC

McGregor is UFC’s biggest star and its brashest personality, and he rubs plenty of fight fans the wrong way. However, he has been nothing but a good guy for hospital workers in Ireland, as he has donated 1.4 million euros’ worth of medical supplies since the start of the pandemic. McGregor’s latest donation came last week, as 170 different facilities received supplies, with McGregor delivering some of them personally.

 
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Edwin Encarnacion

Edwin Encarnacion
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Encarnacion teamed up with former major leaguers Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz to create a charitable initiative to help the Dominican Republic as the country grapples with COVID-19. To date, the players’ efforts have combined to raise over $1 million, with the money helping to combat food insecurity by obtaining and distributing food kits as well as getting personal protection equipment to medical professionals on the front lines.

 
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Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan helped out the Atlanta community in a big way, donating $50,000 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank as well as another $50,000 to the Giving Kitchen. Ryan’s donation to the Food Bank helped out those suffering from hunger and food insecurity, and his donation to the Giving Kitchen helped out food-service workers.

 
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Mike Evans

Mike Evans
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Evans has been one of the league’s underappreciated stars since breaking into the NFL in 2014. He is the only receiver in history to crack 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. He’s also a star in the Tampa and Galveston, Texas, communities and is donating $100,000 through his Mike Evans Family Foundation to help both areas. The money will be split evenly between Galveston and the United Way Suncoast and will help support over 53,000 individuals in the Tampa area alone.

 
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Josh Norman

Josh Norman
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Now with the Buffalo Bills, Norman has pledged $50,000 to provide meals and web-based programs for school children, and has established a foundation whose overall focus is helping children in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple grocery outlets have joined in to participate and either match Norman’s donation, or pitch in to help.

 
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D.K. Metcalf

D.K. Metcalf
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Metcalf burst on the scene in his rookie season, catching 58 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns, and he’s continuing to deliver off the field. Metcalf is donating $50,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts, split evenly between Swedish Hospital in Seattle and needy families in the Oxford, Mississippi, area.

 
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Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Wentz, through his AO1 Foundation, announced earlier this week that he is donating $100,000 to help those dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign is called “Love From The Crumb,” and is designed to supply free groceries for needy families, help deliver meals to those on the front lines fighting the virus, as well as deliver supplies where needed.

 
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Sam Ehlinger

Sam Ehlinger
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

The Longhorns quarterback started a GoFundMe on March 25 to support those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as of the evening of April 5, the charitable campaign had raised nearly $80,000. Some of the groups slated to benefit from the campaign are the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Central Texas Food Bank and Austin Pets Alive.

 
11 of 45

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Verlander has taken plenty of flak for his relative silence about the Astros’ cheating scandal despite previously having harsh words for PED offenders, but he’s doubtless won back some favor with the public thanks to his charitable work. Verlander, like all other players, is still receiving paychecks from Major League Baseball despite play being suspended. He pledged via Instagram to donate those checks to a different organization each week.

 
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Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins players Bryan Rust, Zach Aston-Reese and Marcus Pettersson made a generous donation of food to a local community, purchasing 500 pizzas from a local shop and delivering them to community distribution centers in Pittsburgh’s North Side and Hill District.

 
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Jarvis Landry

Jarvis Landry
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reduced access to groceries and basic necessities has been an issue in some places during the pandemic, and Landry saw to it that students in the East Cleveland Schools were taken care of, donating $15,000 for the purchase of hygiene products for the students and their families. Landry’s donation will provide products for around 1,300 families.

 
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Jeff Skinner

Jeff Skinner
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Skinner has worn No. 53 for the entirety of his NHL career, so it should come as no surprise that the Sabres winger had that number in mind when he pitched in to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. Skinner donated $53,000 to causes supporting the fight against COVID-19 in western New York.

 
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Jack Eichel

Jack Eichel
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres captain is leading by example when it comes to helping out during the COVID-19 pandemic. With PPE (personal protective equipment) in short supply, Eichel is donating 5,000 masks from Bauer for hospitals in western New York.

 
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D.J. Augustin

D.J. Augustin
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Augustin is a New Orleans native, and while he plays point guard for the Magic, he’s helping out his hometown, one of the hardest-hit areas in the COVID-19 outbreak. Augustin made a donation to Krew of Red Beans to help feed hospital workers who are on the front lines trying to combat the virus.

 
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Shin-Soo Choo

Shin-Soo Choo
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Choo has quietly had a nice major league career for a decade-and-a-half and has made plenty of money in the big leagues. Choo is in the final year of a $130 million contract, and he did a good deed for Rangers minor leaguers, many of whom have little to no financial security. Choo donated $1,000 to each minor leaguer on the club, for a total of $190,000.

 
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Stephon Marbury

Stephon Marbury
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Marbury has always been community-minded, dating back to his affordable line of basketball shoes, and he stepped up to help his native city again, making plans to acquire 10 million n95 respirator masks for hospitals and first responders. Marbury currently plays in the Chinese Basketball Association and says he has an arrangement with a Chinese supplier that would sell the masks for a considerably lower price than New York State is currently being quoted by other suppliers. Unsurprisingly, the process has been more than a little bumpy thus far.

 
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Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Mariota is giving back to his native Hawaii, as his Motiv8 Foundation is helping to pick up the tab for 1,000 free meals every day through at least April 30 at two elementary schools in the state. If need be, the program is able to run through the end of the school year, which would be an extension of one extra month. Not only is Mariota helping to provide free meals, but the program is also helping to encourage social distancing by limiting contact during meal pickup.

 
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NBA Together

NBA Together
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Many NBA players have donated their money and time to help out with COVID-19 relief efforts, and now, some who have been infected and recovered might even donate their plasma. Really.

 
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Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This one is…strange. ABC News reported that President Trump sought out former MLB star Alex Rodriguez and his fiancée, Jennifer Lopez, for advice on how to deal with the COVID-19 situation. There’s nothing really to add here, other than to reiterate that the president asked for Rodriguez’s advice during a pandemic.  

 
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DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Hopkins wasted no time ingratiating himself to his new community, donating $150,000 to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund. Hopkins has already made himself a hero to Cardinals fans before ever stepping onto the field or catching a pass.

 
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Danilo Gallinari

Danilo Gallinari
Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Testing capacity has been a major issue during the COVID-19 outbreak, and Gallinari did his part by funding hundreds of testing kits as well as PPE (personal protective equipment) like face shields, gloves and n95 masks for the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

 
24 of 45

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Davis has taken multiple steps to assist various groups that have been negatively affected by the pandemic. He is partnering with Lineage Logistics to match donations up to $250,000 to buy meals from Los Angeles restaurants to give to hospital workers and is also aiding Staples Center workers who are currently out of work because of the NBA’s stoppage by helping them fill open jobs with Lineage Logistics.

 
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Carlos Correa

Carlos Correa
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros were about to be baseball’s most unpopular team before the sport was turned on its ear by COVID-19, but shortstop Carlos Correa did a massively good deed to help out, donating more than $500,000 in medical equipment to the city of Houston during the pandemic. Not only that, but once the situation is controlled in that city, the equipment will then be donated to hospitals in Central America.

 
26 of 45

Tomas Kaberle

Tomas Kaberle
Francois Lacasse / Contributor

Kaberle’s NHL career spanned 14 years, but he was thrust into a new job because of COVID-19: restaurant deliveryman. Kaberle’s wife, Julia, co-owns Quanto Basta, an Italian restaurant in Toronto. When it was forced to switch to takeout only, Kaberle was pressed into duty as perhaps the highest-profile delivery guy in Ontario. As for business? Kaberle’s presence certainly isn’t hurting the bottom line.

 
27 of 45

Julius Randle/Bobby Portis

Julius Randle/Bobby Portis
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Randle and Portis did their part to ensure that New Yorkers struggling to find food during the crisis had some relief. They partnered with HelloFresh to donate $180,000 in meals to struggling residents as well as $50,000 each to City Harvest, a food rescue organization.

 
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Various MLB stars

Various MLB stars
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Numerous major leaguers have done their part to help out, from Pirates players buying 400 pizzas from two local restaurants for hospital workers in Pittsburgh, to St. Louis’ Dexter Fowler matching every dollar donated to Three Square Food Bank’s Coronavirus Emergency Fund, to Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman donating $125,00 to three separate Atlanta-area charities.

 
29 of 45

Jonathan Toews

Jonathan Toews
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Toews has a reputation as one of the NHL’s best leaders on the ice, and he backed that up with his performance away from it. The Blackhawks captain donated $100,000 to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund and even went the extra mile, extending “Happy Birthday” wishes to a 7-year-old fan who wasn’t able to attend a Blackhawks game on his birthday because of the NHL stoppage.

 
30 of 45

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Stafford and his wife, Kelly, helped out Detroit, which has so far been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, with $220,000 in donations, with the money going to a local food bank, the Detroit Public Schools Community District, as well as multiple restaurants that are near hospitals trying to fight the virus.

 
31 of 45

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Knowledge is power, and when Curry hosted Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for a 30-minute question-and-answer on Instagram Live, more than 50,000 viewers were watching at any given time. Considering the importance of messaging and how much respect Curry has among younger Americans, helping Fauci spread the word was a crucially important contribution.

 
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Drew Brees

Drew Brees
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, have been hit hard by COVID-19. Brees and his wife, Brittany, stepped up to help by committing $5 million to help the state, a large portion of which will go towards helping feed those in need. It was the latest in a long line of charitable donations by the Saints’ quarterback.

 
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Bauer Hockey

Bauer Hockey
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Much of the U.S. political discourse surrounding COVID-19 has focused on supply shortages, but Bauer is doing its part to help make PPE (personal protective equipment), shifting from making helmet visors to medical visors for first responders and medical professionals. What makes the story even better is that Bauer’s sudden pivot saved its manufacturing plant in Blainville, Quebec, which was in danger of closing because of the NHL’s stoppage.

 
34 of 45

Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Lawrence tried to do a good thing, and when his fundraiser page was shut down, it looked like the NCAA was once again doing something incredibly tone-deaf. That wasn’t the case, however, as Clemson’s compliance department closed down the page for precautionary reasons. The NCAA allowed Lawrence permission to relaunch the page, and he is currently figuring out the best way to proceed and pitch in.

 
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Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson is a hero to Seahawks fans for what he does on the field, and now he’s one for his work off of it, as he and his wife Ciara are helping the greater Seattle region by donating one million meals to Food Lifeline, an organization that supplies and distributes food to hundreds of food banks, shelters and meal programs across western Washington. This sort of gesture is nothing new for Wilson, as he and Ciara have raised over $8 million in the last six years for immunotherapy treatments to help fight cancer.

 
36 of 45

LeBron James

LeBron James
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

James’ affection for his hometown of Akron, Ohio, is no secret, and he donated over 1,300 meals to local families through an arrangement with Akron Family Restaurant. James also offered his support to UCLA Health workers with a message of support sent through TMZ.

 
37 of 45

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After the 76ers were roundly criticized for cutting some employee salaries during the NBA’s stoppage, Embiid stepped up to help, pledging $500,000 to COVID-19 medical relief efforts, as well as pledging to help Sixers employees dealing with financial hardship because of their salary reductions.

 
38 of 45

Dr. Myron Rolle

Dr. Myron Rolle
Handout / Handout

Rolle was a highly touted recruit who went on to play at Florida State before being drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Rolle’s football prowess is arguably the least impressive thing about him; he was a Rhodes Scholar and is now a neurosurgeon in Boston. He took a video of himself heading into work, spotlighting just how serious the virus had become and putting in stark terms how tough the fight was for medical professionals.

 
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Kyle Kuzma

Kyle Kuzma
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Kuzma’s hometown of Flint, Michigan, has been through a great deal, and a majority of its residents still don’t have safe drinking water. Kuzma partnered with the YMCA of Flint to provide meals to senior citizens, the group most susceptible to COVID-19, starting March 23 and running for at least six weeks.

 
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Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Food insecurity is a major problem created by COVID-19, and Heyward took a step to help families in need in the Chicago area with a $200,000 donation, to be split equally between the Greater Chicago Food Depository and MASK, an organization helping families affected by the virus.

 
41 of 45

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Williamson’s rookie season got off to a late start, but he was one of the first athletes to step up to help the less fortunate after the COVID-19 outbreak halted sports. On March 16, Williamson pledged to pay the salaries of all Smoothie King Center employees for the next 30 days.

 
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Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Bauer is one of MLB’s most outspoken and controversial players, but he did a good thing to help out in the early days of the crisis, organizing a backyard Wiffle ball game with major and minor leaguers. Bauer’s game, which featured mic’ed up players, raised almost $22,000 dollars in under 24 hours.

 
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J.J. Watt

J.J. Watt
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Watt’s charitable contributions are extensive, and he and his wife, Kealia Ohai, donated $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank, money that will help guarantee over one million meals for those in need because of the virus.

 
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Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert
Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Gobert was an initial scapegoat for the pandemic, as he jokingly touched all the microphones during a press conference, downplaying the seriousness of the COVID-19 threat. Gobert turned out to be the first NBA player to test positive for the virus and subsequently atoned for his flippant actions by donating over $500,000 to various groups, including some of Utah’s arena employees affected by the suspension of play.

 
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Kevin Love

Kevin Love
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Love was one of the first athletes to step up to help arena workers, donating $100,000 to help them out within hours of Gobert’s positive test and the suspension of all NBA games. Love also spoke eloquently in an Instagram post about trying to mitigate the other negative societal phenomena related to the pandemic.

Chris Mueller is the co-host of The PM Team with Poni & Mueller on Pittsburgh's 93.7 The Fan, Monday-Friday from 2-6 p.m. ET. Owner of a dog with a Napoleon complex, consumer of beer, cooker of chili, closet Cleveland Browns fan. On Twitter at @ChrisMuellerPGH – please laugh.



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