The National Basketball Association suspended its current season on Wednesday evening after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. The announcement came on March 11 after a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City was postponed.
The NBA’s suspension is the latest in a series of major cancellations linked to COVID-19 that includes Mobile World Congress (MWC), the Game Developers Conference, and SXSW. Also on March 11, President Donald Trump announced that all travel and shipping to the United States from Europe will be suspended for 30 days.
The suspension comes after weeks of agonizing over the proper approach to the outbreak. In recent weeks, teams had been advised to conduct games without fans present.
For fans of the NBA, the news might come as a shock so late in the season, as the playoffs were scheduled to begin mid-April. The suspension is the latest event in what has been a difficult season for the NBA following the death of Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash in late January.
Since the coronavirus outbreak began in in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, it has become a major international crisis, with Italy shutting down all shops except grocery stores and pharmacies.
The NBA isn’t the only sports organization endangered by the outbreak. On Wednesday, March 10, the NCAA made the unprecedented decision to hold its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without fans because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Many have questioned whether the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, will go on. As of March 11, the International Olympic Committee maintains that the games, which are set to begin July 24, will continue as scheduled. The Major League Baseball season, which is scheduled to kick off March 26, as well as the ongoing National Hockey League season, could also be affected,
The outbreak has already had a dire impact on the tech industry. Beyond the cancellation of major tech conferences like MWC, the coronavirus has bludgeoned the tech industry’s supply chains. Many of the factories that produce essential components for devices like the iPhone are located in China, where the virus first struck, and in response to the outbreak, many of the facilities involved have slowed or stopped production. As a result, major tech companies like Apple are facing roadblocks in production, and consumers may soon face product shortages.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
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