LeBron James Threatens to Not Play If NBA Crowds Barred From Attending Games Due to Coronavirus

With rising health and safety concerns due to the coronavirus, the National Basketball Association issues a memo to its teams stating that games could be held without fans in attendance. LeBron James heard about this possibility and was not a fan of the idea. In fact, he said he would not play in this scenario.

"We play games without the fans? Nah, that's impossible," James said following the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Milwaukee Bucks. "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."

The NBA isn't currently planning for games to be canceled, but the league wants its teams to be prepared in such a scenario. In the memo obtained by CNBC, the NBA said teams should identify "actions required if it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present."

Additionally, the memo said that teams 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."

"I don't think you ever want to play games in front of no audiences," Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said during an appearance on Power Lunch. He would instead prefer to suspend play "for a week, or two weeks or whatever."

"But you don't want to play games with no fans," he said. "That's never going to work."

The decision to hold games without fans has already been made by the NCAA. The athletic body announced that its Division III men's basketball tournament at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore will be played without any fans in attendance.


The NBA will not bar fans from attending any upcoming games, but there is a possibility that this could happen in the future. If so, James does not plan on suiting up for any games that the fans can not attend.

(Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)