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Rob Pelinka voices appreciation for frontline workers during coronavirus pandemic

We all have to salute the real heroes.

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LA Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

Often we make sports figures out to be heroes, larger-than-life figures and reality protagonists we can all root for.

That’s part of the fun of sports, of course. The escapism and myth-building in real time. But in times like these, we’re also forced to remember that in the grand scheme of things, sports aren’t the most important thing in the world. The real heroes are the people who are making it possible for the most vulnerable among us to stay safe at home.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka — and his wife, Dr. Kristin Pelinka, a UCLA medical school grad — gave those workers a shoutout in a video posted to the UCLA Health Twitter account:

“The Lakers are so proud of their partnership with UCLA Health, and all of the unbelievable things that are going on in medicine around the world to fight COVID-19,” Rob Pelinka said. “Just know how much we appreciate you and your work every day. Not only the medical workers, but those in other essential needs businesses like grocery store workers, you’re in our thoughts and prayers, and you are the reason that we have hope for tomorrow, and courage for today.”

“It has been a long time since I graduated from UCLA med school, but I have never been more proud of our institution or our profession,” added Kristin Pelinka. “I am so grateful for you guys who are going onto the frontlines of a war that is not invisible for you. We are praying daily for you. For your strength, for your perseverance, and for your protection.”

As Rob mentioned, the Lakers are partnered with UCLA Health — who have the naming rights to their practice facility — and a nice side effect of that has been videos like these reminding all of us that as much as we all would like the NBA to come back, we have to think about keeping everyone involved with that endeavor safe, and work to ensure that our medical systems don’t get overwhelmed.

This is just the latest gesture from the Lakers, who have had multiple members of their organization contribute with words or actions to the coronavirus fight. Quinn Cook recently sent food to frontline workers, while Anthony Davis — who has family and friends on the frontlines — has donated food to healthcare workers. LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma are also trying to help out with food in their hometowns, while James has joined Pelinka among those to personally voice support for medical workers in Los Angeles. Jesse Buss — whose family owns a majority share of the team — has sent food and masks to those who need them most.

If you’re looking to join them in helping out and donate money, the Los Angeles Times has compiled a helpful guide to aid you in finding a cause to give to.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.