In news that shocked the basketball world, the National Basketball Association suspended its 2019-2020 season due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. As the outbreak quickly reached a pandemic status, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that it is for the best interest of the players, teams, game staff, and fans for the games to be stopped indefinitely as the world figured out a way to solve this health crisis.
(Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA/photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Prior to the suspension, there was talk of the NBA pursuing alternative measures such as playing the games in empty arenas. Some teams are actually amenable to this, with some already agreeing to adopt preventive measures that aim to suppress the COVID-19 outbreak. However, all that changed on March 11 during an in-game screening. Utah Jazz center, NBA All-Star and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert tested positive from the virus.
To date, Gobert seems to be doing fine with mild symptoms, however, he notes a loss of taste and smell. His shocking diagnosis comes after a news conference where he mocked the seriousness of the spread and started touching all the mics and recording devices. Two days later he tested positive. He has since donated over $500,000 to those affected by the virus and resulting closures.
(Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz Player/Photo by Getty Images)
From there, Commissioner Silver announced that all games will be postponed until prior notice, with the suspension taking effect for at least 30 days. However, that looked like a conservative bet now, as more players were tested positive for the virus.
Among the players who tested positive during the postponement include Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant, and Marcus Smart. The 76ers have also announced three of its players tested positive, as well as two players from the Lakers. With all these players getting positive test results, there is now a looming threat that the 2019-2020 season might end up getting canceled.
While most people understand that this suspension is necessary for the safety of everyone involved with the league, there is still tangible sadness from this announcement. Beyond the developing storylines, as the playoffs approach, most people see watching NBA games as their reprieve from real-life struggles such as the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, even that gets taken away from them, and no one really knows if and when the games will come back.
Here’s hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic gets resolved soon, and the NBA postponement gets lifted with zero casualties from the league.