LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers high fives Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers uring the first half of the NBA All-Star basketball game Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Chicago.
The growing fear of Coronavirus in the US has forced the NBA to mull holding matches without fans in line with several other sports and entertainment events round the world. Image Credit: AP

Los Angeles: The NBA has reportedly told teams to look into strategies on how to play games without fans in the arena amid concerns over the new coronavirus outbreak.

As fears grow over the spread of the virus, and sports leagues formulate contingency plans, the NBA on Friday sent a memo to its teams telling them to start “developing” plans on how to play games with only “essential staff” in attendance should that be deemed necessary, American sports broadcaster ESPN reported.

The NBA had sent out a previous memo to teams earlier this week, recommending players to use fist-bumps instead of high-fives with fans. It also said to avoid taking items such as pens, balls and jerseys from fans to sign.

“The health and safety of our employees, teams, players and fans is paramount,” the NBA said in a statement on Monday. “We are coordinating with our teams and consulting with the CDC and infectious disease specialists on the coronavirus and continue to monitor the situation closely.”


The global spread of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the international sporting calendar with Formula One motor racing, golf and athletics among the sports canceling or postponing events.

In Italy, the hardest-hit European country with 148 deaths from the novel coronavirus, all major sports events, including football matches, will be played behind closed doors until April 3.

Davis Cup tennis ties in Italy and Japan are being played behind closed doors this weekend. The World Health Organization has called the spread of the virus “deeply concerning” as a wave of countries reported their first cases of the disease - which has now killed nearly 3,500 people and infected more than 100,000 across 92 nations and territories.

LeVert’s triple-double leads Nets past Spurs

Caris LeVert pumped in 27 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and distributed 10 assists to lead seven teammates in double-figure scoring as the host Brooklyn Nets built a huge first-half lead and romped to a 139-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday in New York City.

The Nets led 41-22 after the first quarter - with that output the most by Brooklyn in an opening period this season - and never allowed San Antonio to get closer than 15 points the rest of the game. The Nets scored just 79 points in all four quarters in a home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

The triple-double was the first in LeVert’s four-year career, and he entered the game with just three career dpuble-doubles. Joe Harris added 20 points, with Spencer Dinwiddie and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot totalling 19 points each, Taurean Prince and Chris Chiozza scoring 13 apiece, and DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen tallying 12 points each.