On March 11 at 5:43 pm, I tweeted: “If a pro athlete gets coronavirus then everything will be canceled.”
This was just mere hours before the Mavericks were set to take on the Nuggets at the American Airlines Center, with reports swirling that Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert had become ill and was questionable for the Jazz’s matchup against the Thunder.
Just days prior, on March 9, Gobert “recklessly” touched all the recorders and microphones in a press conference following the Jazz’s morning shootaround. Gobert would, of course, miss Utah’s matchup vs the Thunder, later testing positive for COVID-19.
Here’s Rudy Gobert touching a bunch of reporters’ audio equipment 2 days ago. Today, he tested positive for coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/Z3Lw1yfCfW
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 12, 2020
To some degree, we all have to admit that back on March 11, the majority had made light of the coronavirus and its severity, as indicated by packed arenas across the league. Publicly, we knew little about the disease, how easily it spread, and its effect on others.
Since the positive test, Gobert has been called everything under the sun and has become the face of the NBA in its dealings with COVID-19.
In his time in the NBA, Gobert on all accounts has been a good dude and on March 9, he simply appeared to be making light of a situation rather than acting recklessly about a disease few of us fully understood.
Immediately after Gobert’s positive test, the NBA suspended the season. We were all shocked, including Mark Cuban.
Mark Cuban reacts moments after the NBA season was suspended. pic.twitter.com/4g8Z7yLts6
— ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2020
Then, the NHL was suspended. MLB announced it was being delayed. The XFL canceled the rest of their season. The Cowboys forgot to sign Dak Prescott to a long-term deal and attempted to let Amari Cooper walk free. The list of disasters went on and on as the sports world came to a literal halt.
But what if, just what if Gobert didn’t test positive?
Would we still be in packed stadiums and arenas exposing ourselves to a virus that doesn’t have a vaccine and its possible you have it and don’t show symptoms?
It’s certainly possible.
But that didn’t happen, and Adam Silver made sure of it. He knew immediately as soon as Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 that he would shut down the NBA no matter what the financial ramifications were.
Many CEO, owners, commissioners, leaders, etc., would have easily dragged their feet at the mere notion of shutting down a multi-billion dollar industry.
The NBA and Adam Silver set the standard for the world, not just sports, for the handling of the Coronavirus.
Now, restaurants, bars, and gyms are shutting down. Cities are shutting down. The world is coming to a halt, as we all continue to take steps necessary to slow the spread of this disease.
Think of the challenges Adam Silver has faced this NBA season.
Beginning the season with Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey’s tweet that angered China as NBA teams were playing preseason games there. Then former Commissioner David Stern died. Weeks later, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died. He then reformatted arguably one of the most successful NBA All-Star games ever, while graciously showing tribute to the Black Mamba.
And now he and the NBA face the coronavirus.
It’s hard to say when the NBA and the rest of our beloved sports will return. For now, we know it will be “at least 30 days” since the league-imposed March 11 suspension.
Beyond that, no one really knows. But you can guarantee the world will be looking to Adam Silver and NBA to once again set the standard.
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