LeBron James Says He Won't Be Playing If NBA Bans Fans Due To Coronavirus
The Los Angeles Lakers star spoke to press after a game on Friday, where he said: "I ain't playing. If they ain't got the fans in the crowd - that's who I play for. I play for my teammates, I play for the fans, that's what it's all about.
"If I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there - I ain't playing so they can do what they wanna do."
"If I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there, I ain't playing."
LeBron on possibly playing NBA games without any fans in attendance due to coronavirus outbreak. pic.twitter.com/Ee5XMQ40X6
- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 7, 2020
According to reports, the NBA (National Basketball Association) sent a memo to teams on Friday night, urging officials to prepare game contingency plans should coronavirus continue to spread.
It said that teams should identify 'actions required if it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present' without fans or media, according to a copy of the memo obtained by CNBC.
The memo apparently went on to explain that teams should 'prepare for the possibility of implementing temperature checks on players, team staff, referees, and anyone else who is essential to conducting such a game in the team's arena'.
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As well as James, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta also rejected the idea of playing games without fans in attendance.
Fertitta told CNBC's Power Lunch: "I don't think you ever want to play games in front no audiences."
He added he would rather suspend play 'for a week, or two weeks or whatever. But you don't want to play games with no fans. That's never going to work'.
Postponing or canceling any game due to the coronavirus is a league office decision but the NBA, sources say, has notified teams to start "developing" contingency plans in case "it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present" -- no fans, media, etc
- Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 7, 2020
Games without spectators is something that is being put into practice in the US.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that the Division III men's basketball tournament at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore will be played without spectators.
Featured Image Credit: PA