The NBA has expressed concern in recent days over the coronavirus and how it may affect future games. The possibility of teams playing without fans in attendance was mentioned. This has now become a reality for the Golden State Warriors, who will host the Brooklyn Nets in a private match.
The San Francisco-based team announced the news on Wednesday morning, stating that Thursday's game against the Nets will be played without fans. Those that purchased tickets will receive a refund in the amount paid.
The Warriors also announced that all events at the Chase Center through March 21 will be canceled or postponed. The team will "continue to monitor this evolving situation closely to determine best steps. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans, guests, and partners."
The events affected by the Warriors' decision include multiple concerts and NBA games.
- Thursday, March 12 – Golden State Warriors vs. Brooklyn Nets*
- Friday, March 13 – Tame Impala (postponed)
- Saturday, March 14 – Santa Cruz Warriors vs. Austin Spurs (moved to Santa Cruz)*
- Thursday, March 19 – Post Malone (canceled or postponed)
- Saturday, March 21 – Bell Biv Devoe & Friends (postponed)
Playing games without fans has been a talking point in recent days, and multiple NBA figures have weighed in. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, for example, said that he would not play if the games took place without fans.
"We play games without the fans? Nah, that's impossible," James said on March 7. "I ain't playing if I ain't got the fans in the crowd. That's who I play for. I play for my teammates, and I play for the fans. That's what it's all about. So if I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there, I ain't playing. They can do what they want to do."
This possibility was mentioned to James after the NBA sent a memo to its teams. According to CNBC, the league said that teams should identify actions required if it became necessary to play a game with only essential staff present.0comments
The NBA also told teams that they should "prepare for the possibility of implementing temperature checks on players, team staff, referees, and anyone else who is essential to conducting such a game in the team's arena."
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said that he would prefer to suspend play for a few weeks and that playing games without fans "is never going to work." His statement will now be tested by the Warriors on Thursday night.
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