As worry surrounding the coronavirus continues to grow, the NBA is beginning to take precautions over how their players and coaches interact with the media. The Los Angeles Lakers recently put their new guidelines into practice and it’s definitely different than what many are used to.
Media members now have to keep a distance from players coaches who are being interviewed. It remains to be seen how effective it is at stopping the spread of the COVID-19, but it doesn’t hurt to play it safe. Lakers star LeBron James decided to have some fun with the idea of the media members being further away from him.
LeBron James Changes Tune on Coronavirus Comments
LeBron James turned a lot of heads when he said he wouldn’t play if fans were barred from games because of COVID-19.
“We play games without the fans? Nah, that’s impossible,” James said on Friday. “I’m not playing if we don’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates and I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do.”
However, he had to walk back those comments on Tuesday and explained why.
“When I was asked the question of ‘Would you play without no fans?’, I had no idea that it was actually a conversation going on behind closed doors about the particular virus,” James said. “Obviously, I would be very disappointed not having the fans, because that’s what I play for … At the same time, you gotta listen to the people that’s keeping a track on what’s going on. If they feel it’s best for the safety of the players, the safety of the franchise, the safety of the league to mandate that, then we’ll all listen to them.”
It sounds like LeBron may not have understood the situation when he was originally asked the question. It’s very possible that the superstar might have to play a game with no fans. While it would be a bizarre experience, LeBron may not have a choice in the matter.
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Frank Vogel Talks Virus
While many are worried about the virus, there are certain things that people can do to reduce their chances of contracting it. Head coach Frank Vogel has been doing his best to make sure he’s staying clean.
“Just wiping things down in the house, in my office, washing my hands relentlessly and I’ve replaced the handshake with the dab,” Vogel said, per Melissa Rohlin of Sports Illustrated. “I just dab people now instead of shaking people’s hands. It’s a little cooler, and I think it’s gonna be trending in a little bit.”
Like LeBron, Vogel isn’t thrilled about potentially playing games with no audience, but he’ll accept whatever the NBA decides.
“It would be very unfortunate for our game, but again, just make the most of a difficult situation and do the right thing,” Vogel said. “If that’s the right thing to do because there’s a need for containment, then we understand. We get it and we’ll make the best of it.”