On Mar. 11, 2020, the NBA officially suspended the 2019-20 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the decision that night, at 9:31 p.m.
The news came after the NBA postponed the Thunder-Jazz game, which was supposed to tipoff earlier that evening. The NBA also elected to postpone the Pelicans-Kings game. The NBA G League followed suit, postponing its season after Wednesday’s games.
The NBA planned to make a decision regarding the season later in the week, but a player tested positive for Coronavirus-COVID-19. Utah’s Rudy Gobert returned a positive test prompting the sudden cancelation at OKC’s Chesapeake Energy Arena. Many fans had already taken their seats.
The NBA’s move is the latest in a string of cancelations and precautionary measures taken by the world’s top sports leagues. Thursday morning, La Liga announced they will suspend play for a short time after Real Madrid was placed in quarantine. Also in the soccer world, Juventus’ Daniele Rugani tested positive for COVID-19.
Back in America, the NCAA announced the decision to hold its annual college basketball tournaments without fans. Per ESPN, neither the men’s nor the women’s March Madness tournaments will allow admittance to fans. The sport’s most exciting events will take place in empty arenas.
The Ivy League took precautions a step farther, altogether canceling its conference basketball tournaments. Instead, automatic tournament bids will go to the regular-season winners.
Wednesday night, ESPN’s cameras caught Mark Cuban’s stunned reaction when he received news about the NBA’s postponement. The Dallas Mavericks’ owner later told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi, “This is crazy. This can’t be true. I mean, it’s not within the realm of possibility. It seemed more like out of a movie than reality.”
Even before the league postponed play, teams were preparing for lessened attendance. The Golden State Warriors initially planned to play the Brooklyn Nets in an empty arena on Thursday, Mar. 12. Per ESPN, the decision came after the San Francisco Health Office banned events where over 1,000 people could gather. Now, the game won’t occur at all.
Lakers superstar, LeBron James jumped on Twitter after the NBA’s announcement to comment on the situation, “Man we canceling 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”.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry added, “2020 ain’t 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!”
The situation is perhaps even more emotional for Vince Carter, who may have played the final minutes of his Hall of Fame career on Wednesday. In an overtime loss to the New York Knicks, Carter nailed a three-pointer with less than 15 seconds remaining in the game.
For now, no details regarding the resumption of play or the future impact of Coronavirus-COVID-19 are forthcoming. It’s a waiting game for fans and players alike. Hopefully, scientists and leaders can reach a solution to ensure the safety of people worldwide while opening the door to finishing the anticipated 2019-20 NBA season.