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Coronavirus: Silver says NBA considering charity game amid hiatus

By Sacha Pisani

Los Angeles, March 19: NBA commissioner Adam Silver is unsure when the league will resume but said a charity game is being considered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Silver suspended the NBA last week due to COVID-19, with Utah Jazz pair Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell the first players to contract the virus.

On March 12, Silver said the 2019-20 season would not resume for at least 30 days. Since then, Kevin Durant and three other Brooklyn Nets players tested positive for coronavirus, while the United States and countries across the world have introduced strict travel conditions and imposed lockdowns.

Globally, almost 9,000 people have died as the world tries to combat the spread of COVID-19, which continues to disrupt sport.

Silver discussed the hiatus but was unwilling to provide a return date for the league, instead talking up the possibility of a fundraiser.

"I honestly don't know because I don't have a good enough sense as to how long the coronavirus will prevent large gatherings from being safe," Silver told ESPN when asked how much of the season could be salvaged.

"Even the fact we were using the word hiatus just a week ago, the implication of a short amount of time. But at this point, I really don't know.

"I'm optimistic by nature and I want to believe we can salvage at least some portion of this season. We're going try everything to play basketball again but the safety and health of our players and fans is first."

Silver added: "What are the conditions we need to restart? One, when can we restart and operate as we've known it? Then option two is should we consider restarting without fans? Because presumably, if you had a group of players and staff around them and you could test them, doctors/health officials may say it's safe to play.

"The third option that we're looking at and all suggestions welcome, the impact to me on the national psyche of having no sports programming on national television. Are there conditions in which a group of players could compete for maybe a giant fundraiser or the collective of the people that you take a subset of players, and is there a protocol in which they can be tested and quarantined or isolated in some way, and then they can compete against each other?

"People are stuck at home. They need a diversion. They need to be entertained. One of the thoughts I've heard from several of our teams, we were the first to shut our league down and in what way can we a first mover to help restart the economy. When you think about public health, shutting down the economy is a public health matter as well… we all have to be thinking collectively.

"Maybe we can do this incrementally. The first step isn't games with thousands of people in the arenas, but maybe it's just games, 99 per cent only consume the NBA through some sort of media platform."

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Story first published: Thursday, March 19, 2020, 7:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 19, 2020
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