Playing it safe. LeBron James, Tristan Thompson and more NBA stars chimed in with shocked statements after the league announced that the rest of the current basketball season would be put on pause amid health and safety concerns.
The league made their unprecedented decision after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, March 11. The following day, a statement from the Jazz confirmed that a second player, Donovan Mitchell, had contracted the virus.
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the league stated on Wednesday night.
Current and former basketball players quickly weighed in on the surprising development as concern over the illness continued to spread. James, 35, tweeted in disbelief, “Damn it’s been a rough 3 months. God bless and stay safe.” His comment seemingly referenced the recent passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, which sent shock waves through the NBA community in January.
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry echoed James’ plea for fans to stay safe and healthy, writing in response to the news, “Basketball will be back at some point but right now, protect yourself and stay safe out there!”
Shortly after the Utah Jazz confirmed that they were “working closely with the CDC” regarding their two infected players, Mitchell, 23, broke his silence on his diagnosis.
“Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test,” he wrote in a lengthy statement on Instagram on Thursday, March 12. “We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them.”
The University of Louisville alum continued, “I appreciate the authorities in Oklahoma who were helpful with the testing process and everyone from the @utahjazz who have been so supportive. I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help.”
Scroll down to see how other NBA stars responded to the league’s decision to postpone the current season amid the COVID-19 scare.