On Wednesday night, the NBA’s slate of regularly scheduled games didn’t go on as planned. While four match-ups finished, two were postponed; Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert reportedly tested positive for the Coronavirus, prompting the league to suspend all operations until further notice.
While the move might seem drastic, it’s wise to put public safety above basketball games. The New York Knicks, however, reportedly weren’t on board with shutting things down just yet.
The NBA suspends its season
In Oklahoma City, the Thunder and the Utah Jazz seemed ready to tip-off when the players were sent to their respective locker rooms. Roughly half an hour later, fans were told the game had been canceled. The NBA had suspended its season.
“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19,” the league wrote on its official website. “The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.”
“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 New York Knicks are the lone dissenter
On Wednesday night, the NBA acted decisively and suspended the rest of their 2019-20 season. All of the teams, however, might not have been in agreement.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, some teams wanted to cancel games immediately; others preferred playing games behind closed doors. The New York Knicks, however, felt differently. James Dolan’s team, it seems, “wanted to keep status quo until a governmental/public mandate dictated change.”
While it’s impossible to know the organization’s thinking, they could be motivated by insurance policies. TSN’s Frank Seravalli believes that’s what could be currently happening with the NHL; a recommendation to cancel an event might not trigger coverage, while a government mandate might. Again, it’s impossible to know the specifics, but the Knicks have been known to take the most cost-effective way out before.
Whether the New York Knicks like it or not, the NBA made the right choice
It goes without saying that no one, from the New York Knicks to NBA fans around the globe, is happy to see the league suspend operations. In this case, however, they made the right move.
“I trust Adam [Silver]. You know what? It’s really not about basketball or money,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. “Literally, if this thing is exploding to the point where all of a sudden players and others have had it, you think about your family. You want to make sure you’re doing this the right way. Now it’s much more personal, and you’ve seen what’s happened in other countries, but just the whole idea that it’s come this close and potentially a couple players have it, just, ‘stunning’ isn’t the right word. Just crazy.”
While Cuban might not be to everyone’s tastes, he hit the nail on the head. As much as we might love basketball, there are more important things than 10 men throwing a ball through a metal ring. In this case, the NBA is rightly putting those priorities ahead of their season.