Lakers star LeBron James weighed in on the impact that the coronavirus is having on the NBA in an episode of the Road Trippin' podcast hosted by former Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye and current Lakers studio host Allie Clifton. Among other topics, James discussed the possibility of playing in NBA games without crowds.
"What is the word 'sport' without 'fan'?" James asked. "There's no excitement. There's no crying. There's no joy. There's no back-and-forth.
"...That's what also brings out the competitive side of the players to know that you're going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you're playing against that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans' a-- too."
Talking about some of the challenges the league will face if and when it does return, James said, "So what happens when a guy who is tested positive for corona and you're out there on the floor with him and it's a loose ball?"
The MVP candidate and the Lakers were among the league's best teams when the league came to a halt. The league's current assist leader opened up on the unusual feeling of not playing at this time.
"You getting ready for the playoffs. Why are you shutting down right now?' I was right there turning the corner. I feel like I was rounding third base," he said.
Throughout the league's hiatus, James has continued making a difference in society at-large. Earlier this week, he sent a video out thanking medical personnel at UCLA Health.
James and his foundation also fed 340 I Promise School students and their families, providing enough food for more than 1,300 people. The foundation is additionally planning on feeding more people next week as part of a Taco Tuesday initiative.
He joins a long list of athletes who have been looking to make a difference amid the global crisis. Countless NBA players have put out PSAs promoting education about the virus, while others have donated large sums of money to help those affected by it.
The NBA also built a micro-site which has been publishing updated information regarding COVID-19. As part of a new “NBA Together” campaign, the league also says it's committed to contributing $50 million to support those impacted by the coronavirus, including more than $35 million already made by teams and players.
As of Thursday afternoon, there are nearly 490,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, causing nearly 22,000 deaths. In the United States, there are more than 75,000 confirmed cases.
More analysis from AllLakers: LeBron James—35 years old and dealing with a nagging groin injury—had found his stride before the season came to a halt. Now he'll have to regain his rhythm if and when the season resumes.