The NBA season came to an abrupt halt this week after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, followed less than 24 hours later by his teammate and fellow All-Star Donovan Mitchell. The two were the only players to test positive, but with the Jazz playing several teams recently, players all around the league were told to self-quarantine.
The Boston Celtics were one of six teams that played against the Jazz in the past couple of weeks, which also included the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors. Boston released a statement Thursday saying that all players and staff were to be tested.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne has reported that no players from those teams have publicly reported symptoms or tested positive for the virus. Though this does not completely mean everyone is in the clear, it does provide a sigh of relief in the wake of all of the current fear.
Coronavirus Around New England
While it currently seems the virus has not spread past Gobert and Mitchell in the NBA itself, it still has made its way around Massachusetts and New England. According to NBC10 Boston, Massachusetts currently has 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and another 105 presumptive positive tests.
Police in Westerly, Rhode Island reported that a child tested positive for coronavirus after receiving an autograph from a player at the Celtics-Jazz game on March 6. CBS Sports reported that player was Gobert.
It was also reported that Mitchell visited the Encore Boston Harbor Casino the night before that game, and officials had to alert the seven people he had come into contact with during that night.
While Mitchell took to his social media accounts to encourage everyone to “behave responsibly” amid the pandemic, Gobert apologized on his for being “careless.”
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I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus . I am under great care and will fully recover. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love.
Players Comfort Fans During Downtime
Jayson Tatum spoke to fans via a video on the NBA’s Instagram page, advising everyone to stay safe.
“During this time, we should all be looking out for one another,” he said. “Staying calm, staying safe. Everybody taking steps like washing your hands on the regular, staying out of large crowds.”
Guard Marcus Smart took the “glass half full” approach, encouraging fans to look on the bright side.
“Spend some time w ur loved ones,” he tweeted. “If any good comes out of this it will be that we all slowed down our lives a lil! Much love!”
Enes Kanter went the more comedic route while explaining to fans how to wash their fans.