In what was seemingly becoming inevitable, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing major sporting events to be put on hold. Just days after San Francisco decreed that Warriors games would be played in an empty arena, the NBA has announced that the season has been suspended indefinitely. The news comes after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 moments before tip-off.
Following Gobert’s positive test for COVID-19, the NBA announced that the season would be put on “hiatus” until a later date. Jazz players are all undergoing tests at the arena, the results of which should be available by the morning. Plans were made for the players to stay at the arena overnight while team personnel were being tested at the hotel. Players from teams that have played the Jazz over the last 10 days (Cavs, Knicks, Celtics, Pistons and Raptors) have been instructed to self quarantine.
As the news spread, reactions poured in from around the basketball world. Devin Booker learned of the season’s cancellation while streaming COD warzone on Twitch. Vince Carter entered a decided contest between the Knicks and Hawks late in overtime for what very well may be his final appearance as an NBA player. Entering to a roaring applause, the Knicks hung back on defense and allowed the future hall of famer to drill a three.
The coronavirus is also making its inevitable impact on the sports world outside the NBA. In Italy – a country that has been under lock-down over the last two days – Series A games were played in empty stadiums. The UFC is deciding what to do about their Columbus, London and Brazil events following bans (or likely bans) on public gatherings in those areas.
While not COVID-19 related, Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg was sick during the team’s Big Ten tourney game and ended up leaving early. Taken to the hospital after the game for precautionary reasons, Hoiberg was diagnosed with influenza A (common cold). He has since been released and returned to the team hotel.
While Hoiberg thankfully does not have COVID-19, the scare highlights the very real possibility of the NCAA tournament being cancelled entirely. It has already been decided that games will be played without fans, but one positive test of a player or staff member will likely lead to the cancellation of the tournament outright.
As the days go on, it is inevitable that COVID-19 will continue to cause cancellations across the sports world and beyond.