NBA will witness the first empty-arena game in US pro sports Thursday as a result of the coronavirus. The Nets and Warriors will play behind closed doors at Chase Center.
“Due to escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, (Thursday) night’s game vs. the Nets at Chase Center will be played without fans. Fans with tickets to this game will receive a refund in the amount paid,” the Warriors said in a statement.
With the spread of the coronavirus across the globe, the World Health Organization has labeled it a global pandemic. The Nets — and the public surely miss the days when the biggest health story surrounding this game was Kevin Durant’s Achilles in his return to Golden State.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 11, 2020
“For me, it’s unprecedented. It’s a unique situation,” said Brooklyn interim coach Jacque Vaughn. “Everyone is trying to make the best of it, keep things business as usual and listening to the league about any precautions they care to take.”
The San Francisco Health Office issued an order banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people. As a result, the Warriors are tentatively planning to play their home games without fans. But with the NBA owners having a conference call slated for Wednesday afternoon, the Warriors, the Nets and everybody else in the league is in limbo.
“I’ve never done it and never been around it. Do you still get pregame music to go along with that? I’m not sure what all gets cut off,” said Vaughn, joking that in quiet arenas, the TV and radio audiences might hear what actually happens on court.
“Maybe going to add a few more mikes, pick it all up. It’s going to be silent if you had no one in there. Squeaks and — I’ll tell my kids to cover their ears — there’ll be a little profanity out there for sure.”
DeAndre Jordan — who often plays to the crowd with his thunderous dunks — admitted that playing in an empty arena will be difficult.
“It’s very serious. But at the same time a lot of us play for the love of the game, but also for the fans,” Jordan said. “That would be extremely tough for us to play a scrimmage, a practice-site scrimmage.”
Washington state has more cases of coronavirus followed by New York. Meanwhile, the Nets are now just one game into a week-long, four-city West Coast trip, all in California, a coronavirus hot zone.
In collaboration with the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, updates the daily Coronavirus statistics worldwide through this link