The NBA announced that all games will be suspended until further notice Wednesday night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert preliminarily tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). Coronavirus which has now been labeled as a pandemic by the World Health Organization has now severely affected all sports around the world equally.
The announcement came hours after NBA owners held a conference call to discuss the league’s coronavirus response plans that failed to produce a resolution. And shortly after a game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was abruptly postponed shortly before tip-off.
Players for both teams were on the court at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City for warm-ups but were called back to the locker rooms. The NBA said the affected player was not in the arena and the test results were reported shortly before tip-off.
“The NBA is suspending gameplay following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the NBA said in a statement. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
What’s next for NBA?
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many sports leagues around the world in making the adjustments, including canceling events and holding games without fans. Before the NBA’s decision to suspend its season, the Golden State Warriors announced that its Thursday night game in San Francisco against the Brooklyn Nets would be played without fans. The NCAA also announced Wednesday that its annual basketball tournament would go forward but with only “essential personnel” and “limited family” in attendance.
This is the decision that many people inside the NBA saw coming amid the pandemic which has now fully affected all sports around the world. The sentiment around the league and within the players & team is that they don’t know what is going to happen from here. They don’t know if or when the season is going to resume. As per the NBA, schedule playoffs are going to start from mid-April and finals from June. But as the situation stands, it is looking difficult for the NBA to go on their previous schedule and complete this season.
In light of the NBA’s decision, the National Hockey League released a statement that it is still evaluating the options around the league’s season and will have an update on Thursday.