NBA tells teams to prepare to play games without fans if necessary because of coronavirus; LeBron James says no way

The NBA wants its teams to prepare to play games without fans if necessary because of the coronavirus crisis, but LeBron James already says he won't play basketball in an empty arena.

The Associated Press March 07, 2020 14:39:41 IST
NBA tells teams to prepare to play games without fans if necessary because of coronavirus; LeBron James says no way
  • The NBA wants its teams to prepare to play games without fans if necessary because of the coronavirus crisis, but LeBron James already says he won't play basketball in an empty arena.

  • The league circulated a memo to its teams Friday telling them to prepare in case it becomes necessary to play games without fans or media.

  • The memo detailed potential actions that teams might need to take if it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present.

New York: The NBA wants its teams to prepare to play games without fans if necessary because of the coronavirus crisis, but LeBron James already says he won't play basketball in an empty arena.

NBA tells teams to prepare to play games without fans if necessary because of <span class=coronavirus LeBron James says no way" width="380" height="285" />

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James in action against Milwaukee Bucks. AP

The league circulated a memo to its teams Friday telling them to prepare in case it becomes necessary to play games without fans or media, as sports leagues in Europe have already done. The memo detailed potential actions that teams might need to take “if it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present.”

But when James was asked about that possibility after he scored 37 points in his Los Angeles Lakers' 113-103 win over the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, the NBA's leading active scorer was definitive.

“We play games without the fans? Nah, that’s impossible,” James said. “I ain’t playing if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates, and I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. So if I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do.”

The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, says teams should identify which team and arena people would be necessary to conduct games, and be able to communicate quickly with non-essential staff, as well as ticket holders and corporate partners.

Teams should also be prepared “for the possibility of implementing temperature checks on players, team staff, referees, and anyone else who is essential to conducting such a game in the team’s arena.”

Contents of the memo were first reported by The Athletic.

The letter also says teams should plan for scenarios in which media could attend games under revised media policies.

The league had already sent a memo to teams this week offering 10 recommendations to players with hopes of decreasing risks of getting the virus — among them, not taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers.

An NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament game on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, was played in an empty gym Friday in what was believed to be the first U.S. sports event held without fans because of the coronavirus , though an NCAA COVID-19 advisory panel said it is “not recommending cancellation or public spacing of athletic and related events scheduled to occur in public spaces across the United States.”

Updated Date:

also read

How heavy internet usage and poor digital literacy made India world’s top source of misinformation on COVID-19
India

How heavy internet usage and poor digital literacy made India world’s top source of misinformation on COVID-19

An international study showed that India (15.94 percent), the US (9.74 percent), Brazil (8.57 percent) and Spain (8.03 percent) are the four most misinformation-affected countries

From vaccinations to contact tracing, US working on new COVID-19 rules for international visitors
World

From vaccinations to contact tracing, US working on new COVID-19 rules for international visitors

The US currently bars most non-Americans who have traveled to China, India, the United Kingdom, most of Europe, Brazil and other countries in the previous 14 days

Stefanos Tsitsipas says coronavirus vaccination 'will happen this year'
Sports

Stefanos Tsitsipas says coronavirus vaccination 'will happen this year'

Stefanos Tsitsipas was lambasted by the Greek government last month after he said would only get a vaccination if it became mandatory to compete in tennis tournaments.