“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule until further notice.”
That was the message sent out by league offices on Wednesday evening, officially putting the league on hiatus as they prepare to and work to determine the appropriate steps to deal with COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus. Tip-off of their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was immediately postponed. The NBA’s press release said that Gobert was not in the arena at the time of the announcement.
Prior to tip-off as the game was delayed, Chris Paul ran over to the Utah bench and said “what’s wrong with Rudy?” and they all yelled for him to get away. Now all the players are quarantined in their locker rooms, being tested for the virus.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) March 12, 2020
NBA owners and commissioner Adam Silver had a conference call at 4:30 pm CST Wednesday. It was reported afterwards that the league was deciding whether or not to play games without fans in attendance, or suspend play altogether.
Prior to the suspension announcement, one spokesperson for the Milwaukee Bucks called it a “very fluid” situation when asked about any future plans.
The Bucks did have a team meeting, which was more of an informational for players on the virus, further educating them on preventative measures and protocols.
Media availability in Milwaukee was held approximately six hours prior to the announcement.
“At the end of the day we have to think about the health and safety. Not just the players involved, the fans,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said about the possibility of playing without fans in the stands. “I know the NBA is going to do a great job coming up with a solution that thinks first about our safety, our health and the fans health also.”
The 2019 NBA MVP also added insight about the “great meeting” with members of the team.
“You got to do a good job washing your hands, if you feel sick or if you have a cold or have the flu you have to report it immediately to the medical staff. I think our medical staff is also going to help us and (try to) keep us from getting it.”
Veteran sharp shooter Kyle Korver discussed the importance of players and fans being responsible and taking proper measures.
“There are certain people, because there is not a cure, if they get it they’re going to be in a bad place,” he said. “So I think it’s all of our jobs to do whatever we can to help not spread this. This is what we have to do right now.”
The Wisconsin Sports Zone will continue to update this story with reaction and communication from the league office and Milwaukee Bucks.
Like everyone, we were just made aware that the league is suspending its season. This is a fluid situation so we will have more information as soon as possible for our fans who have tickets to upcoming games. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 12, 2020