Story at a glance
- The Golden State Warriors were scheduled to host the Brooklyn Nets at Chase Center in San Francisco on March 12 in what would have been the first NBA game played without fans.
- The NBA suddenly announced it was suspending the season "until further notice" after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus.
- Sporting events are under scrutiny as public health officials recommend self-distancing to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak.
After a Utah Jazz player, reportedly center Rudy Gobert, tested positive for coronavirus, a game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was suddenly halted. Soon afterwards, the NBA declared that it was suspending the 2019-2020 season "until further notice."
"The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19'", the league said in a statement. "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 Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena."
"The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice," it added. "The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic."
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The NBA had previously announced a plan to play without fans, as leagues have in Italy. LeBron James, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, told reporters he wouldn't play to empty stadiums. "I ain’t playing," James said. "I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates. I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena and there are no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do."
NBA teams had about 15 to 20 games left before the end of the regular season on April 15. The playoffs were set to begin April 18.
The NCAA announced earlier in the day that all of its basketball tournament games would be played without fans.
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