The NBA has suspended the 2020 season amid the growing pandemic of the coronavirus and spread of COVID-19. The league is assessing its next moves.
The NBA has suspended its 2019-20 season following the positive test of two players of the COVID-19 and the coronavirus.
Reports suggest two Utah Jazz players tested positive for the coronavirus, including All-Star center Rudy Gobert. The Utah Jazz were getting set to play the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City when the game was postponed due to what the public address announcer called “unforeseen circumstances.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting the teams are temporarily quarantined in their locker rooms for further testing.
The league will be using the hiatus to determine its next moves.
Orlando Magic officials will address the media Thursday morning. Magic CEO Alex Martins released the following statement:
“As we’ve said from the beginning, the health and safety of our fans, employees, players and partners is our top priority and thus we fully support the NBA’s decision to postpone games. 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. During this period of increased focus on public health due to COVID-19, we ask that our fans continue to practice healthy habits as outlined by the CDC.”
Government officials in municipalities and states were already beginning to take precautions, banning large gatherings. The Golden State Warriors were preparing to play games at the Chase Center in San Francisco without fans in attendance after an order from the city.
Several college basketball conference tournaments decided to play their games with just team personnel, credentialed media and family. The list of such tournaments continued to grow with the NCAA announcing it would play the NCAA Tournament without fans in attendance.
The Orlando Magic were scheduled to play the Chicago Bulls on Thursday at the Amway Center. That game and all future games are in doubt while the league determines what to do next.
The Magic have announced that tickets already purchased for a postponed game will be honored when the game is rescheduled. If games are not played or played in an empty-arena, fans will have the option to receive credit for a future game or a refund.
The playoff picture and the upcoming schedule are less important right now than the health of everyone on the team and the city and nation itself. It is better to take precautions now. Unfortunately, the NBA seemed to act too late.
The hope now is to stop the spread of the virus and limit exposure. That undoubtedly means limiting large gatherings like NBA games until the pandemic slows down.
Hopefully, that will be soon.
It is not clear what the league will do. They will take their time to assess the next steps and make sure the players, team personnel and the public are not exposed further to the virus.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.