Over the last few weeks, there has been a growing concern over the coronavirus affecting more countries as time has passed. The number of countries impacted has pushed its way past 30 while there doesn’t appear to be a decrease in the areas that the virus has made its way through. The United States has now dealt with the issue in growing numbers as of late that has drawn the attention of the professional sports leagues in the country.
Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James was initially against the NBA possibly going the route of closing the game off to fan attendance. However, James has since changed his stance on the entire matter.
LeBron James’ initial stance on potential fan ban
With the growing concern over the increasing presence of the coronavirus in the United States, the chatter around the NBA has become even more centered on player safety.
The league has taken the measure of putting each team through protocols and protective measures with their player’s health at the center of importance. During that initial push by the league, James voiced over a few days ago that he didn’t want to play in any games could see fans not be in attendance.
“I ain’t playing. I 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 are no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do.”
James’ mindset with the entire matter in that bubble shows how much he values playing for the fans, who have helped allow him to have a chance to continue to play in the NBA. However, it was a stance that he has completely backed away from a few days later.
LeBron James’ new stance
In the short time following these comments, he has been given a chance to digest further the situation and the actions that the league has taken.
With that in mind, the 35-year-old voiced Wednesday stated he’s in full compliance if the NBA goes that route because of the reasoning for that move.
“They say no one could actually come to the game if they decide to go to that point, so I would be disappointed in that,” James said. “But at the same time, you got to listen to the people that’s keeping a track on what’s going on. If they feel like it’s best for the safety of the players, the safety of the franchise, the safety of the league to mandate that, then we all listen to it.”
It would be a disappointment for the NBA or any sport to have to go this route, but it’s one that may be necessary. Many other leagues and sports have gone this route for the athlete’s safety, along with the health of the fans being in mind.
Will the NBA go that route?
At this point, there is no clarity on when this matter will be handled accordingly, as there is a growing number of cases in many countries across the world.
That has created growing concern with the entire matter that has seen many other events outside of sports such as Coachella and SXSW deciding to postpone their events. Meanwhile, there is a chance it could see the Olympics canceled if the matter continues to persist.
All options are still on the table and it’s something the four active major sports leagues in the NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS have all announced in a joint statement that they will close their locker rooms before and after games along with practices being handled differently.
It’s an ongoing matter that the NBA will look to conduct their handling retroactively to what’s recommended.