NBA Season Suspended Indefinitely as World Looks to Contain COVID-19
“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”
Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization did not mince any words on Wednesday as he announced that the coronavirus has evolved into a global pandemic. As the death toll rises by week and the virus continues to spread, the growing level of concern has had a large effect on North American professional sports.
On Wednesday night, the NBA experienced its first coronavirus victim.
Rudy Gobert, the All-Star center of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus causing the immediate postponement of the Oklahoma City Thunder-Utah Jazz contest. Both teams were quarantined in their respective locker rooms and less than 15 minutes later, the NBA announced it was effective immediately suspending the entire regular season until further notice.
View this post on Instagram
I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus . I am under great care and will fully recover. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love.
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of [Wednesday’s] schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Meanwhile, after carrying out over 50 tests on Jazz personnel, it was discovered that one test returned positive – that of the electric All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell.
“Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test,” Mitchell wrote in an Instagram post which he shared earlier on Thursday afternoon. “We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them.
“I appreciate the authorities in Oklahoma who were helpful with the testing process and everyone from the Utah Jazz who have been so supportive. I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help.”
"This is people's lives at stake. This isn't about basketball. … This is a global pandemic."
Mark Cuban spoke to the media after the NBA suspended its season. pic.twitter.com/xFkDOFf46o
— ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2020
As the NBA urges players and team personnel to remain safe while exercising social distancing, the league believes its hiatus will last at least 30 days at which point, the NBA will re-evaluate the situation. Over the next month, the league will take every measure necessary to deliberate on what its next step should be.
Whether or not the 2019-20 season will be cancelled all together is unknown to this point. Whenever gameplay does return, the timetable is uncertain, the amount of regular season games to be played is uncertain, and whether the league will jump right into the postseason is once again a complete uncertainty at this time. Only time will tell and it will be imperative to allow this tedious process to run its course.
“Of course the issue becomes now, what we determined today, is that this hiatus will be most likely at least 30 days,” Commissioner Adam Silver said. “And we don’t know enough to be more specific than that. But we wanted to give direction to our players and teams and fans that this is going to be roughly at least a month.
“But then the question becomes is there a protocol frankly with or without fans in which we can resume play,” Silver continued. “I think the goal [is].. what makes sense here without compromising anyone’s safety. It’s frankly too early to tell.”
In the meantime, the NBA asked that each of the Utah Jazz opponents over the last 10 days, including the Toronto Raptors, enter a 14-day quarantine period in order to contain the virus.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 12, 2020
“The truth is up until a few days ago or even up until yesterday, the experts were unclear as to whether as a public health matter, NBA arenas should be emptied,” Silver said of how rapidly things changed. “I think there was a clear consensus that for people over 70 [years old] or people who have any underlying ailment or compromised immunity system that they should not be coming but again it was an open issue.
“We made that decision [to suspend the season], since I knew I had had the benefit of several hours of meetings that day with representatives of every team on the issue of hiatus,” Silver added. “In that moment we made the decision that we should be taking a hiatus knowing again we would have a chance to meet and have further discussions today.”
The NBA’s unprecedented announcement opened the flood gates to what was a historic Thursday. The NHL, MLB, MLS, all postponed its seasons, while the NCAA cancelled its conference tournaments as well as March Madness.
In the meantime, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has stated that he will look to find a way to pay the organization’s hourly workers during the league’s hiatus, while Cleveland Cavaliers star forward Kevin Love has donated $100,000 to the hourly workers of the Cavaliers organization.
“Through the game of basketball, we’ve been able to address major issues and stand together as a progressive league that cares about the players, the fans, and the communities where we work,” said Love in an Instagram post on Thursday afternoon. “I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling. I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need — whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family,”
At this point in time, we at BallnRoll would like to extend our condolences to anyone effected by COVID-19 and we ask that all of our readers remain safe and healthy.