The NBA suspended it’s season indefinitely on Wednesday night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with the Coronavirus just a few days after he mocked reporters by touching all of the microphones after a press conference.
NBA’S FIRST CASE OF COVID-19
How ironic that Gobert becomes the first NBA player to contract the virus. That’s the kind of shocking turn of events that has panicked this country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and led to the entire sports world basically shutting down.
Of course, the announcement sent shockwaves throughout the League and the fact that the last NBA game of the night between the Jazz and OKC Thunder was just about to tip-off, and the arena was packed when the League decided to postpone the game and the season, added more drama, confusion, and fear into the mix.
Mark Cuban’s reaction to the news that the NBA Season has been suspendedpic.twitter.com/a41ihhXmdk
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 12, 2020
The Oklahoman reported just after 10 p.m. that Thunder players had left the arena, but the Jazz remained.
There is no immediate threat to the public, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which stated in a release “those who were in attendance at the game are not at risk of catching COVID-19. As a reminder, COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets. Only individuals who are in close contact with a person with COVID-19 would be at risk of exposure.”
DONOVAN MITCHELL CONTRACTS CORONAVIRUS
People are bugging out, but NBA Insider Brian Windhorst says this is a good move by the NBA. Especially after a second person, Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell contracted the coronavirus.
ESPN story on Donovan Mitchell: https://t.co/IyRYbAvCgl
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
The Jazz confirmed that one additional member of its traveling party is also positive.
“We’re in a historic moment, be on the right side of history,” Windhorst said. “If you’re going to make mistakes, be early. The fact they were able to get the tests done and get everyone out of the (stadium to curb the damage) is a good thing.”
Now that the season has been shut down, everyone wants to know how long it will take for play to resume. And once it does resume will the NBA pick up where it left off or go right into the playoffs?
The 8th seed in the West is the only true dogfight right now. The current standings give us a pretty clear indication of who the top 16 teams are. The bottom 12 don’t really have a shot to win it all anyway, so the NBA playoffs remain a one-round pat on the back for most squads.
CHINA HAS BEEN THERE & DONE THAT
The Chinese Basketball Association’s battle with the virus can be used as a blueprint. The Chinese shut down during its Chinese New Year celebration, so the league was on what’s comparable to an All-Star break and according to Windhorst, some players were out the country in Turkey or Bali on vacation.
The League has been shut down for the last nine weeks as the virus has run its course and leveled off. Life is reportedly returning to normal and players are coming back. Some were forced to return after being threatened with banishment from the League, which intends to start in early April.
According to the World Health Organization, which declared a pandemic on Wednesday, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
NBA IS DEAD FOR AT LEAST TWO MONTHS
It was a 9-10 week process for the Chinese Basketball Association and here in the US, it may be shorter or longer. In any event, it’s not the end of the world.
Windhorst goes on to say that this hiatus “Gives the NBA time to work out all of the building commitments, schedules of building throughout August because they also still need time to work that out. “
A lot of these pro venues share time with other pro teams and also have concerts and other events booked throughout the year.
For now, we can add this coronavirus frenzy to the list of things we never thought we’d see happen in our lifetime. The NBA, the most successful professional league in the world and the unstoppable marketing and branding machine has stopped moving.
So has the world of sports, from the canceled marathons and NASCAR events to the NCAA Tournament games scheduled to play without fans next week, the Ivy League hoops tournament, and the list goes on
Another reminder to those who need it, that the world is bigger than sports.