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The NBA owners were on a conference call with the league today, which is a rare occurrence and reflects the severity of what the league feels they are dealing with concerning the spread of COVID-19.
Changes are coming and it doesn’t matter who doesn’t like it.
“(These kinds of precautions) are going to be a new normal in American sports, pretty much effective immediately,” said NBA Insider Brian Windhorst on ESPN.
BW says eliminating fans is the change that’s most likely to happen.
LeBron James’ initial reaction to that idea was an emphatic, “Is you crazy?”
"If I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there, I ain't playing."
LeBron on possibly playing NBA games without any fans in attendance due to coronavirus outbreak. pic.twitter.com/Ee5XMQ40X6
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 7, 2020
Then, Bron switched it up.
— HOT 97 (@HOT97) March 11, 2020
As the gravity of the situation borders into a national panic, with outlets feasting on the virus as a way to dominate the airwaves and push traffic, opinion within the sports world is consistent with the extreme caution being shown by local governments and institutions across the country at this point.
The reason they’ve taken these measures “is to keep the players safe,” Windhorst added. “because if a player or a coach were to come down with COVID-19, we’d almost certainly have to suspend league operations for this season. They are trying to avoid that.
In China when this became a major issue in January they shut down the Chinese Basketball Association and told the players — many of whom are American and Canadian — to go home… and are just now having them come back with an idea to start the season in early April.”
The NBA and owners stand to lose a grip of cash if NBA playoff games had to be canceled. Worst-case scenario, a player or coach contracts it and the season’s suspended.
The Lakers-Clippers playoff games alone would be worth over $100 million, but the owners at some point have to make a judgment call, which Windhorst says are the things that have to be discussed today and over the next two days