Los Angeles Lakers and NBA star LeBron James told reporters on Saturday that he is not going to play if there are no fans in the stadium due to concerns over the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“We play games without the fans? Nah, it’s impossible. […] I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena and there are no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do”.
LeBron James addresses the #NBA issuing a memo on the possibility of playing games without fans in the arena.— Lauren A. Jones (@LoJoMedia) March 7, 2020
“Play games without the fans? No, that’s impossible...I ain’t playing.” pic.twitter.com/CRVl9XVbMl
His remarks come after NBA executives told USA Today Sports on Friday that they are mulling over teams playing fan-less games, part of their last-resort contingency plan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
On Thursday, the US Senate overwhelmingly passed an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill for response efforts to the COVID-19 outbreak. The legislation will now head to US President Donald Trump's desk for his signature.
The death toll from the disease in the US currently stands at 17, including 14 in Washington state, two in Florida, and one in California.
In total, more than 100,000 have already been infected worldwide, with the death toll now reaching 3,400.