The NBA has suspended the 2019/20 season indefinitely after a player was diagnosed with COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus.
The status of major sporting leagues around the world has been thrown into jeopardy in recent days by the pandemic, with major tennis events and soccer matches being postponed, and the NBA has become the latest to be impacted by the virus.
League officials confirmed on Wednesday night that an unnamed player, believed to be Utah centre Rudy Gobert, has tested positive for COVID-19, had tested positive for the virus prior to the Jazz’s home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The game was then postponed prior to tip-off, with fans already in the arena and players already on court, and while the NBA allowed the games that were already underway to be completed, it was announced that the league would be suspended at their conclusion.
“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19,” read a statement released by the NBA.
“The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of Wednesday’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, Wednesday’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of Wednesday’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Players were quick to react to the news on social media, including Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry who has only just returned from a hand injury that sidelined him for several months.
“2020 aint it,” Curry tweeted. “Don’t know what to compare this situation to…just gotta buckle up and take care of yourself and those around you. Basketball will be back at some point but right now, protect yourself and stay safe out there!”
2020 aint it. Don't know what to compare this situation to…just gotta buckle up and take care of yourself and those around you. Basketball will be back at some point but right now, protect yourself and stay safe out there!
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) March 12, 2020
It has been a difficult couple of months for the NBA, with the league’s suspension coming just several weeks after the tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his young daughter and several other passengers in a helicopter crash, and current Lakers ace LeBron James is ready to ‘cancel’ 2020.
“Man we cancelling sporting events, school, office work, etc etc,” he tweeted. “What we really need to cancel is 2020!. Damn it’s been a rough 3 months. God bless and stay safe.”
Man we cancelling sporting events, school, office work, etc etc. What we really need to cancel is 2020! ??♂️. Damn it’s been a rough 3 months. God bless and stay safe??
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 12, 2020