Basketball star LeBron James recently spoke with reporters after the Lakers’ home game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He was asked about the possibility of playing future games in an empty stadium should the NBA opt to ban fans from attending over fears of the coronavirus outbreak. James told reporters that he wouldn’t play if fans weren’t present, reports Hollywood Life.
The official ESPN Sports Center Twitter shared the video of James stating his opinion on the matter.
“I ain’t playing. 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 [the NBA] can do what they want to do,” said James.
According to the article, James explained that he considers himself an entertainer and that playing to an empty stadium would make him less motivated during games.
In the video posted by Sports Center, a reporter mentions the recent cancellations in Europe. Sports leagues like Europa League and UEFA Champions League have already banned crowds from attending games due to panic over the quickly spreading virus, says Hollywood Life.
“I ain’t never played a game without no fans ever since I started playing ball. I don’t give a damn, this ain’t Europe.” the basketball star responded.
“We play games without the fans? Nah, that’s impossible. I ain’t playing, if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd, that’s who I play for.
—LeBron James on the possibility of playing games without fans in attendance due to concerns from the Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/E3Yb41YfCK
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 7, 2020
Fans in the comments section on Twitter seemed to be split on their feelings over James’ statement. Many people thought it was inspiring that the athlete would decline to play games that wouldn’t allow fans to attend, while others thought it was selfish of him to decline.
Several people also wondered how the NBA would make money if they weren’t going to sell tickets to their games for an indefinite period.
According to Bleacher Report, the NBA has not made an official decision about moving forward with the games as usual or not. They indicated that they were keeping a close eye on the coronavirus outbreak and would let everyone know how they plan to proceed soon. They have allegedly sent informational memos to teams, warning them to prepare to play games without a crowd and to come up with contingency plans.
Many large-scale events have been canceled or postponed in light of coronavirus fears. Recently, The Inquisitr reported that the major blockbuster film, No Time to Die, would be postponed until November.