In the middle of an NBA game between the Dallas Mavericks and the New York Knicks, the sports world came to realize just how big the COVID-19 outbreak is when the NBA announced that it would postpone the rest of its season. The news was the final nail in a day that will forever be known as the day sports died.
March 11 was the beginning of the end for all American sports for the foreseeable future. The day started with an announcement that fans would be absent for the NCAA’s conference championships. Although some fans were upset, this seemed like a popular choice amongst sports media outlets. This all changed once news broke that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was being evaluated and may have coronavirus.
Tip-off commenced per usual in the NBA until the, what fans would come to realize, final game for the next few months. NBA commissioner Adam Silver made the call because of the threat of spreading due to one player having the illness. Immediate reactions were shock, but then owner Mark Cuban brought up the bigger issue of the current situation: How will arena staff be paid while there are no games?
Cuban announced recently that he will be donating a hundred thousand dollars to accommodate the out of work employees of the Mavericks arena and many other players and owners have been following Cuban’s lead.
The cancelations would not stop at the NBA. That same night, NCAA conferences began to drop their tournaments and awarding their No. 1 seeds the automatic bid to the then NCAA tournament. Then the next morning the NCAA would be finished completely starting with all Power-5 conferences. All NCAA basketball conferences agreed that their tournaments would not be played.
The chain reaction from the Gobert incident would not stop there as the NCAA had a final announcement that they would be canceling all winter and spring sport championships. That announcement means basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, track, or softball were thereby finished for the season.
This action is unprecedented at any level, however, the rest of the country followed suit canceling or postponing events in all sports including hockey, baseball, NASCAR, and the Masters. This consensus among sports leagues has never been seen before and now has left people asking, what’s next.
Since the postponements, there have been a handful of cases confirmed in athletes, most notably Gobert’s teammate guard Donovan Mitchell. Had the actions that were taken by the NBA not happened there is no telling where the U.S. would be with confirmed cases of coronavirus in sports.
At this moment all sports are on hiatus with the only news so far coming from the NBA who is currently looking at a June comeback. There is no telling where this situation will end but for now, the number one concern for all sports teams is the safety for fans, coaches and players.