LeBron James Addresses Challenge of Resuming NBA Season Without Fans
It has been more than two weeks since the NBA made the decision to suspend the rest of the 2019-20 season due to concern over the coronavirus. In the time that has followed, there have been various reports to surface regarding the league potentially resuming the rest of the campaign at some point in the future. Among those scenarios that have been tossed around has been likely playing games without fans in attendance. It’s something that Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James has weighed in on once again.
NBA suspends 2019-20 season
Earlier this month, the NBA made the immediate move to suspend the rest of the 2019-20 campaign after Utah Jazz star center tested positive for the coronavirus.
That had come shortly after the league was potentially moving toward playing games without fans in attendance. Since this decision, there have been several players from a few other teams to test positive for the virus.
All of that has placed a significant cloud of uncertainty over what lies ahead of the NBA this season. The hope is picking back up at some point in the summer, but it’s too early to determine how things will unfold in that manner. That said, the league has continued to remain optimistic about the entire situation.
LeBron James’ response to possibly no fans in attendance
The NBA has continued floating around the idea of playing games without fans in attendance if they resume the rest of the season.
It’s something that may have to be put in place due to greater safety measures. During a recent appearance on the Road Trippin’ Podcast, James voiced that he believes that there will be challenges toward competing against another team without any fans present and also suggest playing games in practice facilities. (H/T Dave McMenamin of ESPN)
“What is the word ‘sport’ without ‘fan’?” James asked. “There’s no excitement. There’s no crying. There’s no joy. There’s no back-and-forth.
“… That’s what also brings out the competitive side of the players to know that you’re going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you’re playing against that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans’ ass too.
“So to get back on the floor, I would love it. I’m not going to sit here and say nothing. Like, if it’s get out there and get back on the floor 5-on-5 … but like, we can do that in scrimmages. Let’s just go to each other’s practice facility, put out a camera, just scrimmage and livestream it. … I just don’t know how we can imagine a sporting event without fans. It’s just, it’s a weird dynamic.”
James is likely not the only player to have aired that suggestion, but at this moment, it’s hard to pinpoint what will transpire over the next several weeks precisely. There would be no reason to play in an empty arena if there are no fans in attendance.
It’s a harsh reality that the NBA may have to deal with, but it’s one that they likely have no choice to go that route if continuing the season is realistically on the table.
NBA navigating through much unknown
It’s a situation that is continuing to spread in the United States over the last few weeks, and the number of coronavirus case has had a steady rise.
If things do proceed in the right direction over the next few months, there is a chance the season could be resumed, but it’s still quite early to know if that will wind up being the case. The expectation is that things will get worse before they get better, but the United States is taking precautionary measures in hopes of curtailing it at some point.
Like the rest of the country, the NBA will have to wait and see if things can improve dramatically over the next few months and assess the situation then to see if it’s realistic to continue playing this season.