“This is so far out of the realm of reality that it feels like more of a movie,” Cuban said.
Social media agreed.
The league made the announcement following news that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz had tested positive for coronavirus.
The test result, the NBA said, was reported shortly before the scheduled tip-off time for the Utah at Oklahoma City game on Wednesday night was called off. Players were on the floor for warmups and tip-off was moments away when they were told to return to their locker rooms.
About 30 minutes later, fans were told the game was postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Those circumstances were the league’s worst-case scenario for now — a player testing positive. A second person who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity said the league expects the shutdown to last a minimum of two weeks, but cautioned that timeframe is very fluid.
Some fans seemed to support the league and Commissioner Adam Silver in the decision.
Per the NBA’s statement, the league “will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The league was already considering playing games without fans in attendance, a step the NCAA announced it would take for the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
According to the World Health Organization, which declared a pandemic on Wednesday, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
It has been a worldwide issue for several weeks. And now, it has hit the NBA.
It is the latest major development in a difficult season.
The league lost as much as $400 million in revenue after a rift with China was started in October when Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted out support of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.
Former NBA Commissioner David Stern died in January, the same month that soon-to-be Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. And now, a pandemic — which could also cost the league hundreds of millions in lost revenue, depending on how long it lasts.