Health and safety concerns led to fans seeing the Jazz and Thunder NBA game postponed on Wednesday night, just ahead of tipoff.
The news of the postponement comes as more events across the United States are being canceled, postponed, rescheduled, or happening with fans prohibited from attending.
Two Utah Jazz players were originally reportedly “questionable” prior to the game and one of those players — Rudy Gobert — seems to have played a part in the decision to postpone the matchup.
Jazz and Thunder game delayed, then postponed
Thursday night’s game involving the Utah Jazz visiting the Oklahoma City Thunder was set to tip-off at 8:05 p.m. ET. Both teams were ready to go and their starting lineups were announced.
According to ESPN, the public address announcer announced after a referee conference on the floor that the game was postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Both teams headed back to their respective locker rooms and the officials also left the floor.
Thunder and Jazz both head to locker rooms as refs reportedly await confirmation from the league to start the game. pic.twitter.com/aJk6CK5QzK
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 12, 2020
Fans were told to leave the arena and head home, with TMZ reporting that there was booing from many of those spectators who came to see the game.
Utah’s Gobert and Mudiay had illnesses ahead of game
Two of the Jazz players, Rudy Gobert and Emmanuel Mudiay were both “questionable” with illness hours prior to the game.
Just a few hours ahead of game time, Salt Lake City Tribune’s Eric Walden reported that both players would be sitting out the game.
According to a report from Keith Smith, the broadcast team said that Rudy Gobert’s illness led to officials delaying the game and that they were “waiting for confirmation from the NBA” to decide whether to even play the game.
Gobert also reportedly participated in a media session a few days ago where he touched “every mic and recorder in front of him,” based on another tweet from Walden.
rudy gobert is questionable with an illness two days after making it "a point to touch every mic and recorder in front of him" pic.twitter.com/rqhMUc4ens
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) March 11, 2020
In a report via Shams Charania that arrived after the game’s postponement, he indicated sources said that Utah’s Gobert had tested positive for the coronavirus. Gobert had reportedly been “feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight,” per Charania’s tweet (below).
Sources say Gobert is feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
Other sports events changed, soccer player tests positive
The growing concerns involving the rapid spread of coronavirus around the United States and the rest of the world have led to more and more events being changed. In addition, one sports star has tested positive for the virus.
Hours before the Jazz and Thunder game was postponed, news came in regarding the Golden State Warriors. The team announced that fans would be prohibited from attending Thursday night’s Nets vs. Warriors game because of “escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.”
Due to escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, tomorrow 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. pic.twitter.com/DMpO71ocvg
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 11, 2020
On Wednesday evening, TMZ reported that San Francisco banned all events larger than 1,000 people due to the coronavirus. The news came via the Health Officer of SF who said the ban will last at least two weeks starting on Thursday. All other upcoming events scheduled for Chase Center, the home of the Warriors, were canceled or postponed until March 21.
A CBS Sports report indicated that Major League Baseball was looking into alternate sites for their upcoming games. The Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants are among teams that have already altered their schedules based on health and safety concerns.
Also on Wednesday, it was announced that this year’s NCAA college basketball tournament will feature games played with no fans in attendance.
In terms of professional athletes contracting the virus, a report also arrived on Wednesday that Juventus international football player Daniel Rugani tested positive.
Juventus confirms that defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for the Coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/9cJnjsGjKu
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) March 11, 2020
As of this report, there have yet to be any reports that an athlete playing within the United States has tested positive for COVID-19. However, the reports involving the Utah Jazz players, specifically Gobert, have yet to fully arrive in terms of what type of illnesses the players have been dealing with.