The NBA is officially suspending the season indefinitely after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Numerous discussions have happened over the past few days as to how the NBA can keep its players safe and healthy during what has now been called a pandemic. There have been suggestions such as playing in empty arenas, postponing the season, or even canceling the rest of it entirely.
On Wednesday evening, the decision was made for the league after a strange incident at the game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. All of the players were out on the court and ready to start the game, but then, all of them were taken off of the floor and brought to the locker rooms for what was called “undisclosed reasons.”
Shortly after that happened, the NBA announced that they have suspended their regular season until further notice after the completion of Wednesday night’s games. As reported by ESPN, a member of the Jazz preliminary tested positive for the Coronavirus and it was revealed to be Gobert.
The NBA plans on using this time off the floor to “determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for Coronavirus.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2020
NBA has suspended its season. pic.twitter.com/YPV1SVj2gp
Many sports leagues around the world have been affected by this virus as numerous soccer matches and tournaments have been canceled. Earlier on Wednesday, the NCAA announced that both the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments were going to be played without fans present in the arenas.
Only a small number of people will be allowed into arenas for the games, but those people will be staff members and limited family members. The NCAA realizes how disappointing this is to the basketball fans around the world, but they are doing this for the safety and well-being of everyone.
On Thursday, city officials and the mayor of Tampa, Florida will have a meeting to discuss possibly canceling or postponing “major” events. One of those events is WWE’s WrestleMania 36 which is scheduled for early April and is set to welcome fans from more than 100 countries around the world.
NBA teams have anywhere from around 18 to 20 games remaining in their regular-season schedules at the time of suspension. The league has not yet revealed just how they are going to handle things once games can be started up again. There is still the rest of the regular season along with the playoff chase followed by the postseason which includes multiple playoff rounds and the NBA Finals.
Fans are certainly not going to be happy with the NBA’s decision to cancel the season, and that was evident by the chorus of boos at tonight’s Jazz-Thunder game. Once they realized the seriousness of the situation, things changed and the league is taking no further risks with the safety of players and fans.