LeBron James Would Be 'Disappointed' to Play Without Fans Due to Coronavirus

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LeBron James still thinks it wouldn't be great to play games without fans in attendance, but he would understand if the NBA made the decision due to the coronavirus outbreak.

While speaking to reporters on Tuesday, James cleared the air regarding his recent comments about not wanting to play in an empty arena.

"When I was asked the question...I had no idea there was a conversation going on behind closed doors about the particular virus," James said. "I would be very disappointed because that's [who] I play for."

Last Friday, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported the NBA sent a memo to teams explaining they should prepare to possibly play games without fans in attendance as a result of the virus outbreak.

When asked about games without fans present, James said he was not fond of the idea.

"We play games without the fans? Nah, that's impossible. I ain't playing, if I ain't got the fans in the crowd, that's who I play for," James said.

Now that he's informed on what measures the NBA might take to protect players and fans, the Lakers star said he would accept the league's decision.

"You have to listen to the people that's keeping track on what's going on. If they feel like it's best for the safety of the players, the safety of the franchise, the safety of the league to [issue] a mandate, then we'll all listen to it."

The NBA has already joined MLB, NHL and MLS in closing their respective locker rooms to the media due to coronavirus concerns. No games have been canceled, and there has been no decision to ban fans from attending contests.

The virus has infected over 700 people in the U.S. and killed at least 27, with one state after another recording its first infections in quick succession. Worldwide, nearly 120,000 have been infected and over 4,200 have died.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.