The 2019-2020 NBA season has officially been suspended after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus. ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news on Twitter and was shortly followed by an official statement from the league:
“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.
The NBA is suspending gameplay following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
ESPN NBA writer Royce Young also previously reported that the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder players were sent back to their locker rooms at the Chesapeake Energy Arena after their supposed game was called off mere seconds before tip-off.
The suspension could also have possibly marked the final game of Vince Carter, who suited up for the Atlanta Hawks with only 19.5 seconds left on the clock. The eight-time NBA All-star closed out the game with a three-pointer and, despite losing to the New York Knicks 131-136, celebrated with his teammates and opponents.
The NBA Playoffs were only a month away and had fans expecting exciting matchups going into the Conference Finals, including the return of LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, the appearance of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks and possibly Zion Williamson‘s first Playoffs season with the New Orleans Pelicans. This year’s Playoffs was also supposed to mark the first absence of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in seven years as they sit at the very bottom of the Western Conference standings with a 15-50 record.