​NBA Suspends Season After Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus; MLB Prepares for the Worst

Stephen L Kanaval  |

Source: NBA.com

The National Basketball Association suspended its season after a player tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday evening.

Rudy Gobert, center for the Utah Jazz, was not in the arena and was listed as “out” before the team’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Then, as tipoff approached, a surreal series of events transpired.

Players prepared for the game as usual with warmups. Then, medical staff from the Thunder started talking with referees. Players retreated to the locker room, where coaches and referees also followed. Halftime performances were moved up to entertain the crowd. About 30 minutes after the start of the game was paused, it was officially postponed. “You are all safe,” the PA announcer said as fans were asked to leave. Once fans had safely exited, news broke that Gobert had tested positive for coronavirus.

The NBA is expected to address next steps with teams when it conducts a call with the board of governors at 12:30 p.m. ET Thursday, sources told ESPN.

"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.''

This news followed an announcement earlier in the day from the NCAA that the men's and women's tournaments would be played with no fans. . “The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement.

All eyes are now on Major League Baseball as Opening Day is set for March 26, 2020, with all 30 teams on the schedule. ESPN reported that California’s decree to cancel any event with more than 250 people could force MLB’s hand, if the NBA’s decision was not a strong enough impetus. High-level MLB executives were expected to participate in a Friday phone call in which plans for the season would be discussed, multiple outlets said.

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