Sport Basketball NBA to suspend season due to coronavirus

NBA to suspend season due to coronavirus

Oklahoma City Thunder's game against Utah Jazz was called off over coronavirus fears. Photo: AP
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The NBA has announced it will suspend its season after Wednesday night’s games until further notice, as it deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement came shortly after a game between the Utah Jazz and host Oklahoma City Thunder was called off moments before tip-off.

The move comes after the announcement that Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

The diagnosis follows a press conference in which Gobert tried to make a point about overreaction and fear surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak at a media conference on Monday by touching every microphone and recorder.

Utah Jazz had been scheduled to play Oklahoma City Thunder today before the game was called off as a result of player concerns regarding Gobert’s ‘illness’, and worries it could possibly be coronavirus-related.

Gobert’s positive test was reported later that evening (local time).

Fans leave the stadium after it is announced that the game between Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz had been postponed. Photo: AP

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement, adding it would use the hiatus “to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Jazz is home to Australia’s Joe Ingles and Dante Exum – both of whom also play for the Boomers.

The league said the affected player was not in the arena and players from both the Jazz and the Thunder were being quarantined at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

At the time of the announcement, the Dallas Mavericks’ home game against the Denver Nuggets was midway through the third quarter.

Two other games – the New York Knicks at the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets at the Miami Heat – were late in the fourth quarter.

All three games were allowed to finish before the suspension comes into effect.