On Wednesday night, the NBA became the first of the four major American sports league to suspend its season, with the NHL and MLB later following suit.
The announcement shocked the sport world, as the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder were about to tip-off from Oklahoma City when it was revealed that Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for coronavirus.
After Wednesday's slate of games (which included two cancellations), the league officially suspended the 2019-20 season, doing what is best for team and fan safety.
On Thursday night, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined the Inside the NBA on TNT crew to discuss the timeline of the events that led to the suspended schedule and whether or not there's a possibility that the rest of the season will eventually be cancelled.
"What had happened yesterday was that we had had a Board of Government meeting, it was by conference call, and some NBA league committee meetings with some groups of our owners as well, and the very purpose of the meeting was to decide what our next step should be," Silver said. "… And the truth is, up to a few days ago or even up until yesterday, the experts were unclear as to whether as a public health matter, NBA arenas should be emptied. I think there was a clear consensus that for people over 70 or people who have any sort of underlying ailment or compromised immune system, that they should not be coming, but again it was an open issue.
"Essentially the discussion was should we attempt to play our games without fans in the arenas, would that be safe? Or should we take some sort of hiatus?"
Once Gobert's positive test became known, Silver knew there was no time to waste.
"Once his test came back positive, we needed to make a decision whether we were then going to cancel the game," Silver explained. "Fans were in the seats, ready to go … I think we quickly agreed that this of course should not be a business decision. We should be listening to the public health experts, Oklahoma City, and the team doctors..."
One of the other questions that Silver was asked on Thursday was if there's a possibility that this hiatus the league is on will eventually lead to the rest of the season being cancelled, to which the Commissioner gave a very honest response.
"Of course it's possible. I just don't know more at this point," said Silver. "There's another factor that may go to the seasonality of this virus. Again, I've talked to a lot of experts … some have a theory that just as with the common flu that as the weather changes, we may see it begin to peter out a little bit. Again, we just don't know. At this point we're just waiting."
Silver also published a letter to all NBA fans, writing that the league's hiatus would last for at least 30 days and that the NBA intends to resume the season "if and when it becomes safe for all involved."
Adam Silver sends a letter to NBA fans: pic.twitter.com/GrAjUetvd7- Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 13, 2020