What a surreal 24 hours it has been for the world of professional (and amateur) sports. It seems like the massive announcement of Golden State and Brooklyn playing in front of an empty arena made Wednesday morning is ancient history at this point. If you have any access to a television, radio, or social media, you have heard by now that the NBA and all other Professional Sports Leagues are suspending play until further notice.
The unforeseen chain of events starting with Rudy Gobert
As the Oklahoma City Thunder prepared to play the Utah Jazz last night, Chris Paul wandered over to the Jazz bench. “Where’s Rudy?” he asked. “Get away!” the bench replied, motioning for Paul to get away from them. Shortly after, it was announced the game would be canceled, and both teams headed back to their locker rooms. The game was canceled because Utah Jazz, big man Rudy Gobert, tested positive for coronavirus.
Gobert, who was seen in a video mocking the coronavirus by touching all the microphones after a recent press conference, was not in the arena for the Thunder Jazz game, but unfortunately also infected fellow teammate Donovan Mitchell. Jazz players seem to be upset with Gobert, as several anonymously claimed Gobert has been touching his teammate’s belongings in the locker room before he was tested positive. The Jazz Thunder game was immediately canceled before tipoff.
Shortly after the Gobert news, the NBA reacted quickly, by suspending the rest of the season. While several games were played out last night, including the ESPN game featuring the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks, the 10:30 pm EST game between the Kings and Pelicans was also canceled, due to one of the officials present being possibly infected since he had called a Jazz game earlier that week.
From Ryan Ruocco and Doris Burke announcing the Nuggets Mavs game to the video of Mark Cuban receiving the news on his phone, there was a certain shock and uncertainty watching yesterday’s ESPN broadcast. You could even tell with some of the players on the court were affected, as the 2nd half of the Mavs Nuggets game was sloppy on both sides. In the Hawks Knicks game, Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce took advantage of a dire situation by putting Vince Carter in the game with 30 seconds left in what might be his final game ever. Carter immediately hit a three-pointer, and the crowd went wild.
Today, the NHL and MLB suspended operations until further notice. Every conference canceled their individual tournaments in the NCAA. While the NCAA tournament is scheduled to be played without fans in the arenas, the thought is that Mark Emert will most likely postpone the tournament to a later date.
These are scary times we live in right now. We all hold our breath as the sports world, and society as a whole, wait for this horrible virus to run its course.