AP Was There: NBA suspends season over coronavirus pandemic

MIAMI (AP) — (2010s)

The NBA is suspending the season “until further notice” after Rudy Goebert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. The move comes hours after most league owners leaned toward playing without fans in arenas. The strike is expected to last a couple of weeks. But the NBA doesn’t resume play until late July with a scaled-down version involving 22 teams inside a bubble created at Florida’s Disney World complex. The Associated Press republishes the NBA season suspension story verbatim on March 12, 2020.



By AP Basketball Writer

MIAMI (AP) — The NBA suspended its season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday, a move that came just hours after most league owners bowed. for playing without fans in the arenas.

Now there will be no games at all, at least for the time being. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Jazz player who tested positive was center Rudy Gobert. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the team confirmed the test.

“The NBA will suspend games after the conclusion of tonight’s game schedule until further notice,” the league said in a statement sent shortly after 9:30 p.m. EDT. “The NBA will use this pause to determine the next steps to move forward regarding the coronavirus pandemic.”

The result of the test, the NBA said, was reported shortly before the scheduled time for the game between Utah and Oklahoma City on Wednesday night was canceled. The players were on the pitch for warm-ups and were a few minutes away from being told to return to their locker rooms. About 30 minutes later, fans were told the game was postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

Those circumstances were the worst case scenario in the league for now: a player who tested positive. A second person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity said the league expects the shutdown to last a minimum of two weeks, but cautioned that the timeframe is highly variable.

“It’s a very serious time right now,” Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think the league has moved appropriately and prudently and we will all have to monitor the situation and see where it goes from here.”

The Jazz released a statement saying one player, they did not identify Gobert, tested negative early Wednesday for the flu, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection. That player’s symptoms subsided as the day progressed, but the decision was made to test for COVID-19 anyway. That test came back with a preliminary positive result.

“The individual is currently under the care of health officials in Oklahoma City,” the Jazz said, adding that updates would come as appropriate.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more serious illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, which declared a pandemic on Wednesday, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first broke out, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have recovered so far.

It has been a worldwide problem for several weeks. And now, he has made it to the NBA.

“This is crazy,” Cleveland forward Tristan Thompson said on Twitter.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he was stunned when the news broke, adding “this is so much bigger than basketball.”

“This is a global pandemic where people’s lives are at stake,” Cuban said. “I’m much more worried about my kids, and my mom is 82, talking to her and telling her to stay at her house, than when we play our next game.”

Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego, speaking before his team’s game in Miami, said “these are scary times.”

Fast-moving times, too. Around 7 pm, a person with knowledge of the situation told the AP that the owners, who met by teleconference Wednesday, were largely supportive of a plan to play in empty stadiums in the short term.

About an hour later, the Thunder-Jazz game was stopped before kickoff. And about 90 minutes after that, the season was cancelled, effective when the last whistle was blown on Wednesday night.

That came even earlier than planned: The final game of the night’s six-game slate, New Orleans at Sacramento, was also canceled because one of the referees assigned to work that Pelicans-Kings game, Courtney Kirkland, worked a game. of Utah on Monday.

“The game was canceled out of an abundance of caution,” the NBA said.

There are 259 games, about 21% of the schedule, left to play this season, and no one knows if or when things will resume.

“We believe in the leadership of the league,” Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand said.

Closing is the latest breakthrough in a season filled with unspeakably difficult challenges. The league lost as much as $400 million in revenue after a rift with China began in October when Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. Former NBA commissioner David Stern died in January, the same month future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash.

And now a pandemic, which could also cost the league hundreds of millions in lost revenue, depending on how long it lasts. Cuban said he hoped his team would stay in Dallas, rehabbing and working, and that he would be ready to return when the league reopened.

“As we have said from the beginning, the health and safety of our fans, employees, players and partners is our top priority and therefore we fully support the NBA’s decision to postpone games,” Orlando CEO said. Magic, Alex Martins. “We will continue to stay in contact with the league and local, state and federal health experts as we closely monitor this public health crisis.”

If the regular season ends here, it would be the end of Atlanta guard Vince Carter’s 22-year career. And in case that was all, the Hawks put Carter up with 19.5 seconds left in overtime in what was clearly already going to be a loss to New York.

Carter took an open 3-pointer and converted it (the moment-conscious Knicks didn’t defend it either) and celebrated with his Hawks teammates after what could be the final shot of his career.

“A weird memory, but a great one,” Carter said.

Also closed: The G League, the NBA’s minor league where teams have six to nine games left on their 50-game schedules.

The NBA’s move toward empty stadiums at short notice came on the same day the NCAA announced that men’s and women’s Division I tournaments would be played with no fans, except for a few family members, allowed to watch. .

“Clearly, people are taking the steps that they feel they need to take for safety,” said Heat guard Duncan Robinson, who played in Division I and Division III national championship games during his college days at Michigan and Williams.

Robinson added, “but at the same time the NBA has to protect its players in the league and the fans.”

For some time, the trend was toward games in empty stadiums, and it was abundantly clear Wednesday morning when the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told a congressional committee that he would recommend that the NBA not allow fans in stadiums. games in response to the coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was responding to a question asked by Rep. Glenn Grothman, a Republican from Wisconsin, “Is the NBA underreacting or is the Ivy League overreacting?” Grothman was referring to how the Ivy League recently canceled its basketball tournaments, instead of having them without fans or maintaining the status quo.

“We would recommend no large crowds,” Fauci said. “If that means not having people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it. But as a public health official, anything that has crowds is something that would be at risk of spreading.”

It was then that the concern was about crowds and containment.

By the close of business on Wednesday in the NBA, the concern was much greater.

“This is surreal,” Borrego said. “This is the reality for us now. He is no longer alone on television somewhere. This is home now.”


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