The NBA world held its breath on Wednesday as a game in Oklahoma City between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was abruptly postponed due to concerns of an illness. Initial concerns that a player’s illness and potential exposure to novel coronavirus soon became realized when a report surfaced that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz had tested positive for the dieseas, which is currently circling the globe as a pandemic.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania had the news first, giving context to the TV broadcast initially citing that Gobert missing from the lineup due to an illness was the concern that had caused the game, which was about to start in OKC, to be postponed.
Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert has tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
Sources say Gobert is feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
The NBA reacted immediately by announcing that the NBA season had been put on pause, though a Sixers home game had just gone final and three games were currently underway. The bench area at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City was disinfected following the game’s cancelation, and according to media reports from the press there both locker rooms were under quarantine shortly after the postponement announcement came through.
Perhaps more worrying are reports that Gobert had touched media members’ recording devices amid the initial precautionary actions taken by the NBA, as reporters were placed eight feet away from players per NBA guidelines established earlier in the week.
Is this the Rudy Gobert microphone incident in question? pic.twitter.com/5pzIuvGMGd
— Eagle-Eyed Social Media User Dan Why-Ner (@DanWeiner) March 12, 2020
That incident drew laughs at the time, but as the scope of the pandemic increases and an NBA season on pause is now a reality, it’s a worrying interaction to say the least.
UPDATE: Following the postponement, the Jazz issued a statement clarifying what happened on Wednesday that led to the abrupt decision by the NBA.
Statement from the @utahjazz pic.twitter.com/0rYK9lVFvp
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) March 12, 2020