NBA Suspends Season Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Dragan Bender #10 of the Golden State Warriors goes up for a shot on Kawhi Leonard #2 - Getty - H 2020
Getty Images

Meanwhile, the NCAA's March Madness will be held without spectators.

The National Basketball Association on Wednesday suspended the season until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The league made the announcement shortly after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus. It is unclear what the next steps will be.

The Golden State Warriors would have been the first team in the NBA to play without fans in their arena due to coronavirus fears. 

"Due to escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, tomorrow night’s game vs. the Nets at Chase Center will be played without fans. Fans with tickets to this game will receive a refund in the amount paid," the team announced earlier Wednesday on social media.

"All events at Chase Center through March 21 will be cancelled or postponed at this time," the team added. "We'll continue to monitor this evolving situation closely to determine best steps. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans, guests and partners." 

Likewise, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced Wednesday all championship events, including the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments, aka March Madness, will take place with only essential staff and limited family in attendance.

Right before tipoff Wednesday night, the game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was abruptly stopped and later postponed. Fans were told the game would not be played and to leave the venue. No further explanation was given, but it has been reported that Jazz players Emmanuel Mudiay and Rudy Gobert have an unspecified illness.

Major League Soccer on Thursday suspended the season for 30 days. 

The NHL in a statement Wednesday night said it was aware of the NBA's decision to postpone the season and it was evaluating what to do with its season. Thursday morning, the league said, “Given the uncertainty regarding next steps regarding the coronavirus, Clubs are advised not to conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings today.”

The City and County of San Francisco on Wednesday banned any gathering of more than 1,000 people.

A powerhouse NBA franchise just a few years ago, the Warriors have struggled this season and are currently in last place in the Western Conference.

There had been chatter from the NBA since last week of the potential of playing games without fans in attendance for safety as the cases of coronavirus increase daily. 

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was at first against the idea of playing to an empty arena, saying he would not participate in the game. However, he later walked those comments back, admitting the virus spread was dangerous.

His reaction to the remainder of the season being canceled: "Man we cancelling sporting events, school, office work, etc etc. What we really need to cancel is 2020! Damn it’s been a rough 3 months. God bless and stay safe."

With the San Francisco gathering ban in place, it is unclear how MLB's Oakland A's will proceed with their home opener March 26 against the Minnesota Twins. The NHL's San Jose Sharks have yet to comment on the matter; their next home game is March 19 at the SAP Center. 

March 12, 8:45 a.m.: Updated that MLS has suspended its season. 

March 12, 7:07 a.m. Updated with comment from NHL. 

March 12, 6 a.m.: Updated with a comment from LeBron James.

March 11, 1:40 p.m. Updated with NCAA announcing no spectators for March Madness.

March 11, 5:47 p.m. Updated with news that the Jazz-Thunder game was postponed.

March 11, 6:41 p.m. Updated with news that the NBA has suspended the season.

March 11, 7:18 p.m. Updated with news that the NHL is evaluating what to do with the remainder of its season.