The National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended the remainder of its season on Wednesday night after a player tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) just before a game’s tip-off.
The league made the announcement after the player fell ill just before a matchup between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunders, the New York Times reports.
The league said the suspension would take effect after the completion of Wednesday’s schedule.
“The N.B.A. will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the league said in its statement.
NBA To Suspend Season Following Tonight’s Games pic.twitter.com/2PTx2fkLlW
— NBA (@NBA) March 12, 2020
The Jazz-Thunders game was set to begin Wednesday evening at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Arena when, within seconds away from starting, the Thunder’s head medical staffer ran onto the court to talk to referees.
Players from both teams then left for their locker rooms.
Fans seated in the arena were entertained by musical and dance performances during a 20-minute delay, but later an announcer informed the crowd that the game had been postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
According to ESPN, the player who tested positive was Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
A source told the sports network that Gobert was never at the arena, but was in Oklahoma City ready to play if he’d tested negative for the disease that was recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
Jazz and Thunder players continued to be quarantined in the arena. Additionally, other teams that have played against the Jazz have been advised to self-quarantine.
Those teams are Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and the Toronto Raptors.
The NBA season suspension comes after the coronavirus caused others to close its doors, including schools, festivals and nationally syndicated talk shows.
Popular daytime talk shows The View and The Wendy Williams Show have both decided to stop filming with live studio audiences due to growing concerns about the coronavirus.
Wednesday’s episode of The View started off as usual with upbeat theme music blaring as head host Whoopi Goldberg warmly greeted, “Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to The View!”
But moments later, viewers at home were stunned when the camera panned across rows and rows of empty chairs. It revealed an empty audience.
That same day, the World Health Organization characterized the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus as a pandemic, prompting television shows across a variety of genres to take steps to protect talent and crew exposure.