NBA suspends all games as coronavirus spreads
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NBA suspends all games as coronavirus spreads

By Tommy Fradenburg

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See @tommyfradenburg

The NBA and NBA G-League have suspended their seasons until further notice due to concerns over the Coronavirus the Athletic’s Shams Charaia reported Wednesday. 

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“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of [Wednesday’s] schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement issued shortly after 9:30 p.m. ET. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Shortly after the league announced the decision news broke that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus; causing the mid-game postponement of Wednesday’s matchup between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. Both teams immediately went into quarantine in their respective locker rooms, but only Utah was tested for the virus. While Gobert was not in attendance, he reportedly felt physically well enough to play.

One other game was stopped partway through, with a referee for the matchup between the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans having recently officiated a Jazz game. 

“It’s stunning, but we are where we are,” said Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. We have to be smart in how we respond. This is people’s lives at stakes. This isn’t about basketball, this isn’t about the Mavericks.”

But before understanding came shock.

Prior to a case reaching the league, teams like the Golden State Warriors already decided to play the remainder of the season without crowds. Since Gobet’s infection came to light players and coaches from multiple teams throughout the league are rushing to get tested; an effort the league is assisting in.

The NBA joins a plethora of other leagues to postpone or cancel competition. Top soccer leagues La Liga and Serie A have suspended, with an active case in Juventus player Daniele Rugani.

In America, the Ivy League cancelled first its basketball tournaments, shortly followed by all spring sports. Conference champions (and eventually the national champions) across America will earn their crowns in front of empty basketball arenas and the Seattle Mariners are moving their early home games. Media access to locker rooms is currently limited as a precaution in the NHL, MLB and MLS.

The NHL released a statement saying it is “aware of the NBA’s decision,” and ,”is continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options. We expect to have a further update [Thursday].”

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With the rapidly changing and unexpected nature of the COVID-19 situation, most leagues are keeping their options open to resume activities at some point.

“When you have something that’s so unique, you have to really just be agile and pay attention because we’ve never been here before,” Cuban said. He continued on, saying he would not be surprised if the NBA season carried into August. Accoriding to a normal schedule, the playoffs were set to begin on April 18 and run as long as June 21.

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