With more and more cases of the coronavirus spreading across the United States, the NBA is trying to take the appropriate measures to protect its players, coaches and personnel.
The league has already eliminated media scrums in locker rooms, and have told players to avoid signing autographs and stop taking pictures with fans, according to John Karalis of MassLive.
Could playing in front of empty arenas be the next step? Celtics coach Brad Stevens hopes it doesn’t come to that.
“Nobody wants to play without fans. That would be really too bad,” said Stevens, per Karalis. “This thing is built on people liking it and the reason why we’re all where we are and get a chance to do this for a living, and make a good living, is because people are interested in it. It’s counterintuitive not to have people in the stands. But... they’ll have to make the decision on what’s the best interest for everybody’s health.”
Celtics star guard Kemba Walker is trying heed the NBA’s advice in limiting his interactions with fans and he hopes they don’t take it as a snub.
“Just really being cautious for the most part,” said Kemba Walker, per Karalis. “I just hope the fans kinda understand what we’re trying to do, how we’re trying to go about it. Not trying to be disrespectful but at the end of the day we have to look for our well-being.”
For Marcus Smart, the heightened concern is something to take seriously as he tries to adhere to the precautions like Walker to look out for himself, the team and fans.
“I think it’s just as much a concern for everybody else. You know, obviously you want to keep everybody safe,” said Smart, per Karalis. “We’re doing all the right measures to protect ourselves — washing our hands and less contact with people. I think my and everybody else out here on this team’s level of concern is as high as everybody else’s.”