LeBron James, Man Of The Fans, Isn’t Here For The NBA’s Proposal Of Playing In Empty Arenas Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
King James said he plays for his fans and teammates.
March 09, 2020 at 9:43 pm
In his reaction to the NBA considering hosting games with an empty arena as a response to the widespread virus, James said he wouldn't play if his fans are not there.
"We play games without the fans? Nah, that's impossible," James told reporters after a Lakers game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. "I ain't playing if I ain't got the fans in the crowd. That's who I play for. I play for my teammates, and I play for the fans. That's what it's all about. So if I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there, I ain't playing. They can do what they want to do."
Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker shared similar sentiments. He told reporters he wouldn't want to play a game if fans are excluded from the arena, saying “that would be terrible," Sports Illustrated reported.
The following Saturday, the Lakers were lectured on how to prevent the spread of the disease by the team's doctor, Sports Illustrated reported.
"Just educating our guys," Lakers' coach Frank Vogel said. "We did have a meeting with our team doctor. It was common sense-type stuff. Wash your hands, avoid contact with others. But we did have the meeting to educate our guys."
During Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the question of whether players should be exposed to fans was brought up again. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he's not sure what to do in regard to the disease, but he said he has "blind faith" in people "smart enough" on the subject.
"I don't know what to do. I'm not smart enough. I'm not educated enough to actually know what we should do," Rivers said. "I am smart enough to know I should just listen. If they tell me not to show, I'm not showing. There's a reason for that. There's pretty smart people that are making that decision. If they tell us we can play, you have to have blind trust and faith and, hopefully, they get it right. That's all you can say about it, really."
Growing concerns about players catching the coronavirus aren't just exclusive to the NBA and the United States.
All sporting events in Italy are taking place without fans present due to the massive outbreak in the country, the Los Angeles Times reported. Schools and universities in the country have also been forced to shut down until March 15 as officials work to contain the spread of the virus.
Blavity previously reported ways to avoid the coronavirus, such as wearing a mask, being mindful of what you are eating from and washing your hands.