The 25-year-old pledged to donate 12,500 meals to people in need in Seattle via Feeding America, a network of food banks which helps more than 40 million Americans each year, including 12 million children.
LaVine, who was enjoying a career-best season before the NBA was suspended last week due to the coronavirus outbreak, said he was determined to help communities in the Seattle area as much as he could and hinted the donation was just the first step.
“I want to do my part and help my communities as much as I can during this difficult time,” the two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion wrote on Twitter on Friday night.
A native of King Country in Washington State, the pandemic has hit particularly close to home for LaVine.
Washington State is one of the worst-affected states in the country. As of Saturday morning, it had reported 1,524 cases, with 83 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the outbreak using combined data sources. The combined number of cases across the U.S. is just over 19,500 with 260 deaths and 147 people recovered.
More than 11,000 people have died since the outbreak of coronavirus began in Wuhan, a city located in China’s central Hubei province, late last year. There are over 275,000 cases globally, with 88,000 recovered.
LaVine isn’t the only high-profile player with ties to Seattle to come out in support of the local community. Earlier this week, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara pledged to donate one million meals to a local food bank.
“Everything that we do together makes a difference,” Wilson’s wife said in a video the couple posted to Twitter. “Together we will conquer these tough times we are going through.”
In the video, the Wilsons also urged the audience to observe social distancing measures recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Over the last seven days, a host of NBA players have either donated to their local communities or pledged to support arena workers, who face layoffs or furloughs while the NBA suspends its season indefinitely.
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and his wife, Ayesha, on Monday committed to donate one million meals to the Alameda County Community Food Bank for children in the Oakland Unified School District. Meanwhile, New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love each donated $100,000 to workers at their respective home court arenas.
On Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers announced they had set up a fund to cover $1.4 million worth of wages of 1,000 arena workers.
The Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, and Washington Wizards have also all pledged to help arena workers until the season resumes and the league was working in partnership with them.
“NBA teams, arena owners and players are working together in partnership to support arena employees impacted by our season hiatus,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told Newsweek earlier this week.