The NBA has suspended its season in the United States “until further notice” due to the coronavirus, the Association said in a statement on Wednesday night.
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s (Wednesday’s) schedule of games until further notice,” the body’s statement said.
The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s games until further notice. pic.twitter.com/3PIBQngjRP
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 12, 2020
“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The decision came after Wednesday night’s game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed soon before match time after Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive to Covid-19.
The NBA, one of the biggest and most watched sporting leagues in the world, is nearing the end of its home-and-away season.
Its play-offs were due to start on April 18.
The league has been thinking of holding games in empty arenas for some time as a move to address the spread of the virus.
This idea seemed closer to fruition on Wednesday morning, when the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, told a Congressional committee that he would recommend the NBA not allow fans at games in response to the coronavirus.
“We would recommend that there not be large crowds,” Dr Fauci said.
“If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it. But as a public health official, anything that has crowds is something that would give a risk to spread.”