The current NBA season is suspended until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus.
The suspension is effective from Thursday with yesterday’s game between the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans also being called off soon after the announcement was made.
In a statement on the league’s website, the NBA said: “The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of Wednesday’s schedule of games until further notice.
“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The announcement came after, earlier that day, the Golden State Warriors had decided they would ban fans from attending home games.
NBA season is suspended after bizarre moment at Chesapeake Energy Arena
Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder were minutes way from tipping off at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday night when the game was delayed for about 30 minutes before being called off.
A member of the Thunder’s medical staff came onto court and spoke to the referees before players from both teams left the court and headed to the locker rooms, leaving fans confused.
A statement from Utah Jazz issued yesterday said an unidentified player, now believed to be center Rudy Gobert, had been diagnosed with coronavirus after preliminary tests.
A spokesman said: “A preliminary positive result came back right before tip-off of the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City game.
“Subsequently, the decision was correctly made by the NBA to postpone the game. When it was determined that the individual would be tested, we immediately informed the league office.
“The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation are paramount in our discussions.
“We are working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials and the NBA to determine how to best move forward as we gather more information.
“The individual is currently in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City. In coordination with the NBA and state officials, we will provide updates at the appropriate time.”
The news has come as a shock to both the NBA and wider sporting world with many unsure about what this could mean for other sports.
Earlier on Wednesday, team owners conducted a conference call with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to discuss their options amid growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
It was expected that the league would move towards games behind closed doors with no fans and limited personnel.
The league was expected to make an announcement later today but it is understood the situation with Gobert forced them to make what is, so far, an unprecedented move and announce the NBA season is suspended until further notice.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced a number of sports leagues around the world to consider taking extreme measures, including cancelling events and holding games without fans, in an effort to curb the increase in cases across the globe.
On Wednesday the NCAA also announced that its annual basketball tournament would go forward without fans and only essential personnel in attendance.
After the NBA’s announcement, the NHL released a statement that it is still evaluating the options for the hockey league’s season and they are expected to release an update later today.
Only time will tell if other leagues are likely to follow suit, with a number of countries already ordering Champions League matches to be played behind closed doors.
Earlier this week, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said he thinks that measure makes “no sense” and added that football does not work without spectators.
This is a breaking news story. We will bring you more reaction and details when they become available.
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