NBA Enforces New Precautions Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

The latest update to this story is the following according to Adrian Wojnarowski:

NBA is planning to limit locker room access to only players and essential team personnel in wake of coronavirus. Teams are also instructed to create a 6-to-8 foot distance between players and media in availability sessions outside locker rooms.

Jeff Passan reports that Major League Baseball will join the NBA and NHL in coronavirus precautions.

Report from earlier this weekend.

The NBA is warning teams to be prepared they may be playing games this season without fans and limiting attendees to "essential staff" amid the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the memo obtained by ESPN, it won't just be fans who will be missing from the stands. It would also include members of the media and other types of attendees.

However, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James didn't seem to care for the idea in an interview with reporters shortly after the team's win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

"Nah, that's impossible," James said. "I ain't playing. If I ain't got the fans in the crowd, that's what I play for. I play for my teammates, 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 there? I ain't playing. So, they could do what they want to do."

The league sent the memo to teams on Friday telling them to prepare in case it became necessary to play without fans or media in attendance. The league asked teams to identify the essential staff needed to conduct a game as well as develop a process for "communicating quickly and effectively with team and arena staff who are/aren't essential for this purpose."

Teams were also urged to prepare to implement temperature checks on players, staff and anyone else deemed essential to the operation. Further scenarios that would include media attending games once again could be implemented under revised policies.

For now, no NBA games have been canceled for fans. The Golden State Warriors confirmed that Saturday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers will be played as scheduled, despite a recommendation from the San Francisco Department of Public Health that advised large events be canceled or postponed amid the outbreak.

Johns Hopkins University officials announced earlier this week they'd banned fans from attending the first and second rounds of the Division III men's basketball tournament in Baltimore this weekend. The game was played in an empty gym on Friday in what is believed to be the first U.S. sports event held without fans because of the outbreak.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been at least 340 cases confirmed in the U.S. with at least 17 people having died so far. Globally, the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has killed more than 3,400 and infected nearly 102,000.