The NBA became linked with the coronavirus last night, changing the league in not-yet-knowable ways. Here are six scenes that capture the shock, confusion, chaos and sadness of yesterday.
Rudy Gobert touching recorders
Yesterday, video of that incident emerged.
Dave Fox of CUTV:
— Dave Fox (@Davefox2) March 12, 2020
A Utah Department of Health spokesperson called that “low-risk exposure,” according to Ben Anderson of KSL. But – since Donovan Mitchell‘s positive test for coronavirus – Jazz teammates have complained about Gobert’s carelessness. There was clearly a pattern here with Gobert, and knowing what we do now, it’s surreal to watch.
Thunder doctor running onto court
Gobert tested positive for coronavirus shortly before the Jazz were set to play the Thunder in Oklahoma City last night. That led to Thunder lead doctor Donnie Strack running onto the court to alert officials just prior to tip-off, which you can see in the background of this video:
Thunder public-address announcer announcing postponement
Of course, Gobert’s diagnosis led to the Jazz-Thunder game being postponed. But everything was happening so quickly and amid so much uncertainty, Oklahoma City public-address announcer Mario Nanni – who’s so good as a speaker, he has literally made a living from it – was stumbling over his words in the announcement:
Breaking: The Thunder-Jazz game has been postponed to a later date, per the NBA. pic.twitter.com/4z8liN5Kra
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2020
Definitely had a Chip Diller “Remain calm” vibe with the multiple declarations that everyone is safe.
Mark Cuban learning the NBA had suspended its season
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was watching his team play the Nuggets when the NBA suspended its season. He was DEMONSTRABLY shocked:
Mark Cuban reacts moments after the NBA season was suspended. pic.twitter.com/4g8Z7yLts6
— ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2020
Girl crying in Sacramento
The NBA’s initial plan was to suspended games after yesterday’s contest finished. But Kings-Pelicans in Sacramento – which hadn’t yet tipped off – also got postponed. That left one young fan in tears:
Little girl at postponed Kings game crying…appears to say 'This is my first game" while hugging her dad. pic.twitter.com/qgVMN77mSk
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) March 12, 2020
Vince Carter embracing several Knicks, who recently played Gobert and the Jazz
With the Hawks and Knicks finishing their game after the season-suspension announcement, Vince Carter checked in for what might be the end of his NBA career. He made a 3-pointer then embraced several players on both teams:
The Knicks – who recently played Gobert and the Jazz – have since been told to self-quarantine.
I know it’s silly to be overly concerned about a few daps, considering these players just spent a full game exchanging far more contact. This might have been a meaningful moment for Carter as he nears (reached?) retirement. I want to focus on his great career.
But watching those players, I couldn’t stop thinking about the spread of coronavirus.
Which is why yesterday will go down as one of the most notable days in NBA history.
A league ostensibly about basketball has become a league about the coronavirus.