NBA Shutdown Helped Public Take Coronavirus More Seriously

NBA Shutdown Helped Public Take Coronavirus More Seriously


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated Wednesday that he believes the league’s decision to suspend the NBA season was beneficial. The NBA shutting down amid the coronavirus pandemic heavily influenced those in the United States to take the virus more seriously, according to an interview with Rachel Nichols on ESPN.

‘Larger Decision Than Just the NBA’

Commissioner Silver told Nichols that adjourning the current NBA season (after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19) wasn’t just about professional basketball. It created awareness of the seriousness of the outbreak, especially among the league’s younger viewers.

“I recognize that when we went off the air last Wednesday night it was a larger decision than just the NBA. It got a lot of people’s attention. Young people in particular, who are a large part of our audience, who frankly weren’t taking [it] all that seriously.”

Silver continued, “By virtue of an NBA player being tested and the kind of attention it brought, my sense was, especially among young people in the United States, people were not taking these protocols all that seriously until the NBA did what it did.”

NBA to Help Society Return to Normal

Within 48 hours of the NBA’s decision last Wednesday, the NHL and MLB followed suit. Silver is unsure of when play will resume. Still, he’s hoping the NBA can help return society to normal once the health crisis is over.

“We were the first to shutter, in what way can we be the first mover to restart the economy? There’s no doubt that shutting down the economy is a public health matter as well… sometimes out of the worst crisis comes opportunity,” Silver said.

“And one thing I’ll say about the United States… we’re an incredible country, and some of the greatest inventions, some of the best innovations, some of the best minds are in this country.”

NBA Players Tested Positive for Coronavirus

As of Thursday evening, 14 NBA players have tested positive for COVID-19:

  • Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant
  • Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart
  • Utah Jazz’ Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell
  • Detroit Pistons’ Christian Wood

The other nine athletes were not named.

NBA spokesperson Mike Bass released a statement Tuesday night detailing the results of coronavirus testing in the NBA. He hopes that some of the players’ decisions to reveal their diagnoses influences the public to adhere to CDC recommendations.

“Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their rest results public, they have drawn attention to the critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”