DALLAS - Due to the increasing threat from the Coronavirus, the NBA has announced its intentions to suspend the regular season until further notice.
The announcement came shortly after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday night.
“Obviously very concerned, but it’s not necessarily about basketball, obviously it’s much bigger than basketball," Mark Cuban said. "I’m concerned about whether my kids have school or not. I’m concerned are we all doing the right thing. Obviously this is new territory. This is certainly a black swan event in my experiences. Basketball actually becomes secondary. But in terms of basketball, as I said earlier nobody at the Dallas Mavericks is an expert on infectious diseases or their spread. This is not a situation where you fake it till you make it or try to sound or act important. The NBA has hired people with expertise in those areas and they are working with people in the government and other people with expertise. We have to defer to them and that’s exactly what we’ll do. Effectively, if one player or two players already have it, we’ll have to act accordingly, and I think the NBA made the right decision."
The World Health Organization had already declared the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, a "global pandemic,'' and now the NBA and its teams have begun to carry out their own policies in order to protect both the players and the fans.
The NBA isn't the only league take steps to protect its fans and athletes either, with the NCAA recently announcing its intentions to play all NCAA tournament games without fans in attendance. That said the move to suspend the season indefinitely is the most stunning move of them all to this point.
"I don’t have the expertise at all, and I’m not in a position," Cuban said. "When it’s something this critical, when it’s people’s health and the safety of our fans and customers is at stake, I didn’t have an opinion. We said effectively we would go with what the NBA said because I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know and I’ll defer to those who do.”
The Big 12 Conference has also taken precautions, making a 'limited access' announcement for its men's and women's conference tournaments. However, the conference will allot 125 tickets to each team, to allow select invited guests of student-athletes to attend the games.
In Seattle, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, the governor of Washington state is announcing a ban on public assemblages of 250 or more people. A similar mass-group ban is happening in Santa Clara County, California. Many teams in Europe have temporarily shut downplay. already has locked down professional sports. MLB's Texas Rangers are scheduled to open in Seattle and those plans may change. The NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS had also implemented limited access to their locker rooms. (Here are the details from inside The Star on the Dallas Cowboys' plans.)
"We have a lot of flexibility. I don’t want to speak for Adam [Silver] or the NBA, but in terms of the NBA basketball side of this, we have a lot of flexibility because there’s nothing that happens after June 12 when we typically end our season." Cuban said. "It’s more important for us to get it right.”
The cancelation of Dallas's annual St. Patrick's Day parade was the beginning of that thought process locally, but it seems the NBA is the first on the list from a national scale."