first_imgAfter a week of ramping intensity in the threat of the coronavirus, the NBA season came to a screeching halt on Wednesday night.After Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, a planned game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was immediately halted moments before tip-off. Within an hour, the NBA had suspended the season indefinitely with no clear plan forward in an unprecedented health crisis for the league.“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”It could be a watershed moment – not just for the NBA, but for sporting events at large. The NBA is the first of the major professional U.S. sports leagues to suspend all games, forced to skip half-measures by the positive test of a player. The positive COVID-19 test blew away all earlier hopes that the NBA would be able to continue without fans. The Boston Herald reported that teams that had faced the Jazz over the last 10 days were being asked to self-quarantine. In the previous week-and-a-half, the Jazz had played road games in Cleveland, New York, Boston and Detroit before hosting Toronto at home. A planned game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings was called off on Wednesday in Sacramento, with local media reporting that players became alarmed once they learned Courtney Kirkland, who officiated the March 9 game between the Jazz and Raptors, would be in the referee crew.The South Bay Lakers played a home game Wednesday night in El Segundo, a win over the Austin Spurs before the NBA also announced the G League season had been suspended.In Oklahoma City, players and staffers from both the Thunder and Jazz were reportedly being tested for coronavirus and were held in their respective locker rooms long after fans had left. ESPN reported that the Jazz would be quarantined in Oklahoma City for now. Other people who had come into contact with Gobert, including traveling media members, were expected to stay in place until they could be tested.Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke to reporters in Dallas, telling ESPN that teams would be able to continue to practice.Players learned on social media that the season would be suspended, and responded in kind. From his “Inside The Green Room” podcast social media account, Lakers guard Danny Green recorded a video statement wishing those affected by COVID-19 a speedy recovery.“Obviously it sucks. It’s unfortunate,” he said. “We want to continue to play basketball. The fans want to continue to watch basketball. And we want to continue to entertain you guys as best we can. But these are the right steps we need to take. The NBA’s making the right call. And hopefully, we get it back up and running in the right direction soon.”Even before the decision was announced, players had treated Gobert’s test with caution. “If you’re gonna take precautions … take all the precautions,” Clippers guard Lou Williams tweeted at 5:40 p.m., before the decision Wednesday.Lakers veteran Jared Dudley had tweeted: “I personally would rather postpone to make sure we can finally get ahead of this virus.”After the news broke Wednesday evening, the Lakers were in the process of gathering more information before issuing a statement on behalf of the organization. The Clippers canceled a scheduled practice and said they would follow up as more information became available.The Lakers canceled a Thursday morning shootaround but allowed players to come in for treatment if they wished. Team employees were asked to work from home if possible. “I mean, it’s surreal,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of closed-door games, hours before the sudden test. “But it’s something that we knew was probably coming and it’s unfortunate and hopefully not long-lasting.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe NBA said Gobert, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year from Franche, was not present in the arena during the game. The positive test result came in shortly before tip-off, sending medical staffers rushing to the court to usher players back into their locker rooms. A half-hour later the Chesapeake Energy Arena public address announcer informed those in the arena that the game had been postponed.Locally, the Lakers had a game scheduled Thursday night against the Houston Rockets and announced that fans would be able to receive refunds for tickets from point of purchase. The Clippers were scheduled for a Friday home game against the Nets.Now for the foreseeable future, there will be no basketball in Staples Center.The league had spent much of the early week contemplating measures to rein in the spread of the virus, which has nearly 125,000 confirmed cases worldwide and more than 4,500 associated deaths. After closing locker rooms to non-essential personnel to lower player risk, the NBA’s governors had discussed a number of possibilities to limit fan exposure: ESPN reported many of the league’s owners in a Wednesday discussion were in favor of playing games without fans – a step many other sporting events, including the NCAA Tournament, had already announced.The stakes escalated quickly: Earlier in the day, players and coaches had openly discussed the possibility of playing without fans after the Golden State Warriors had announced they intended to play their game Thursday night closed to the public. 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