NBA Shuts Down Facilities as Positive Tests Continue

Brock Fritz Headshot

The NBA is closing down all practice facilities as players across the league continue to test positive for coronavirus.

According to ESPN, a Thursday memo from the NBA instructed all 30 teams to close their facilities indefinitely, starting Friday, due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has suspended the season.

The NBA has been shut down since March 11, when the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive prior to a game at Oklahoma City. The Gobert incident, which included pulling the teams off the court just before the opening tip, ignited a string of testing throughout the league.

Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive March 12, after all members of the Jazz were quarantined and tested in the wake of the Gobert incident.

The Detroit Pistons’ Christian Wood tested positive March 14, according to The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania. The Pistons had played the Jazz four days prior to Gobert’s positive diagnosis.

On March 17, the Brooklyn Nets announced that four players, including former MVP Kevin Durant, had tested positive. Durant told Charania that he feels fine, saying “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine. We’re going to get through this.”

Four more teams announced Thursday that staff members had tested positive.

The Philadelphia 76ers released a statement announcing that three unidentified staff members had tested positive, while a Denver Nuggets statement said that a member of the organization had tested positive and is in self-isolation under the care of team medical staff.

The Los Angeles Lakers released a statement Thursday that two of their players had tested positive. The statement said that the anonymous Lakers are “asymptomatic, in quarantine and under the care of the team’s physician.”

The Lakers played the Nets on March 10, which triggered the testing. All members of the Lakers staff are being asked to self-quarantine at home and closely monitor their health.

“The health and well-being of our players, our organization, our fans, and all those potentially impacted by this situation is paramount,” the Lakers’ statement read. “As always, we appreciate the support of our fans, family and friends, and wish everyone affected by this virus a speedy recovery.”

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart released a Twitter video Thursday to announce that he tested positive. Smart said he was tested on Saturday and received his positive test Thursday.

“I don’t feel any of the symptoms, but I can’t stress enough practicing social distancing and really keeping yourself away from a large group of people,” said Smart, whose Celtics had played the Jazz and Nets in the eight days before Gobert’s positive test.

There has been some criticism over how it’s easier for NBA players to get tested than the rest of the public. National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne Wednesday that she was disappointed in the criticism.

“There’s nothing irresponsible — if you’ve got that information (that you’ve been exposed) — about trying to get the tests,” Roberts said.

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