By Zac Cornell
The NBA suspended the remainder of the season after star Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Right before tip-off between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz Wednesday night on March 11th, the Thunder’s head doctor ran onto the court and had a private meeting with the officials. Soon after, the NBA postponed the game and had everyone leave the stadium without giving the reason. Later that night, it was revealed that a player on the Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus as well as his fellow teammate Donovan Mitchell. Due to the possibility of players passing germs while playing, the NBA postponed the remaining games of the season until further notice, as did most other sport leagues.
Since all leagues are put on a hiatus in the middle of some seasons, what are fans and players supposed to do in their free time? How will managers and workers within organizations make money to sustain? What will happen to the economy?
Due to a layoff in the middle of the NBA season, many owners around the league pledged to fund workers of their lost earnings, as they would not have another source of income. In addition, a few NHL teams have also said they are planning to pay workers for their lost earnings.
Not only owners, but players have also offered help and donated to communities. Rudy Gobert, the first person tested for coronavirus, donated $500,000 to assist people affected by the virus. He split up his donations to his country, France, the coronavirus services in Utah and Oklahoma City, and to the employees of the Utah Jazz arena. Kevin Love, forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, donated $100,000 to the staff at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Former MVP and Milwaukee Bucks superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, donated $100,000 to staff at Fiserv Forum. Giannis’s star teammate, Khrid Middleton, also donated $100,000 to the staff at Fiserv Forum. Detroit Piston’s forward Blake Griffin donated $100,000 to the staff at Little Caesars Arena. Number one overall draft pick and future NBA star Zion Williamson promised to pay the salaries of the employees at Smoothie King Center for the next month. Jeremy Lin, a former NBA player and champion, is donating $150,000 to UNICEF to help battle the virus. He also donated $150,000 to the China Foundation. The Golden State Warriors owners, players, and coaches are collectively donating $1 million to assist workers at Chase Center.
Many fan favorite athletes have posted videos on social media with suggestions on how to stop the spread of the virus and are giving daily reminders to wash your hands and avoid close contact with others.
So far, these athletes and owners have done a great job trying to stop the spread of the virus. Now, all we need is the viewers to follow what they are saying! But what about the remainder of these seasons? Are the leagues going to abolish them entirely? We’re not sure yet, but it does not seem like the leagues will forget about them. NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, is put in a tough situation as the playoffs approach and they are forced to postpone the season. There’s no chance they can finish every game and follow with the playoffs this summer and then begin the next season in October. So be on the lookout for some changes to the remainder of the season schedule this year and expect a possible short tournament for the teams that have a chance to make the playoffs and then maybe a shortened playoff series. Who knows?! But as of right now, the number one concern for all leagues is containing the virus and keeping everyone safe and healthy. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said “I trust Adam [Silver]. You know what? It’s really not about basketball or money,” Cuban said. “Literally, if this thing is exploding to the point where all of a sudden players and others have had it, you think about your family. You want to make sure you’re doing this the right way. Now it’s much more personal, and you’ve seen what’s happened in other countries, but just the whole idea that it’s come this close and potentially a couple players have it, just, ‘stunning’ isn’t the right word. Just crazy.” Cuban is addressing the point that this pandemic goes beyond sports and business once it becomes personal.