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NBA Suspending Season Indefinitely due to COVID-19 concerns


NEW YORK, NY., March, 11, 2020 – The NBA has announced that it will be suspending the 2019/20 regular season indefinitely after the completion of tonight’s games. According to the league’s announcement, it will use the hiatus to “determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The statement from the NBA reads: “The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Centre. At the time the game was cancelled. The affected player was not in the arena.

The NBA is suspending play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

See the NBA’s tweet below:

A Utah Jazz player has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the NBA confirmed in its statement, adding that the test was conducted shortly before the tipoff of tonight’s Utah/Oklahoma City game, which was then postponed. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the player who contracted the virus is Rudy Gobert.

The Utah Jazz released a statement Wednesday night to say that the “individual is currently in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City. In coordination with the NBA and state officials, we will provide updates at the appropriate time.” 

The Toronto Raptors only just played the Jazz as recently on Tuesday night defeating them 101-92, so chances are that they were exposed to COVID-19 during the game rubbing elbows in the paint with Rudy Gobert.

In fact, here is a tweet showing footage of OG Anuoby making contact with his elbow against Rudy Gobert’s chin.

The NBA had already sent out advice to players on how to avoid the potential spread of the virus while playing a contact-friendly sport. Among the stranger suggestions was that players avoid the postgame handshake and instead stick with fist bumps. Some players pumped elbows.

Then the NBA also issued a statement to all 30 teams asking them to come up with contingency plans for playing games in empty arenas, with only essential personnel in attendance and no spectators. In response, LeBron James said, “I ain’t playing if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for.”

Well, playing without fans in the seats is no longer a concern, as all the games have been suspended.

Meanwhile, the National Hockey League also released a statement Wednesday night in response to the NBA’s decision.

“The NHL is continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options,” the statement said, adding an update is expected to be given on Thursday.

While yesterday, it was announced that today’s Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester City was cancelled as a precautionary measure” because several Gunners players were already in self-isolation after learning that Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis contracted coronavirus. Arsenal recently played the Greek squad in the Europa league two weeks ago and many of the players had met the team’s afflicted owner.

Another major sporting event, the World Figure Skating Championships, scheduled to take place next week March 18-22 at the Bell Centre in Montreal was also cancelled earlier today.

The NBA had already been leaning towards playing games without spectators while the NCAA had announced that the men’s and women’s Division I tournaments would definitely be played without fans with the exception of some family members cleared with permits to watch the games.

story by Terry Lankstead

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