In a memo sent out to teams by the NBA obtained by ESPN, it details that players should opt for fist-bumps over hi-fives and “avoid taking items such as pens, balls, and jerseys to autograph.” There is also a possibility the association could “limit the scope” or cancel pre-draft pre-draft combines, on-site workouts, and international scouting events based on how bad the situation gets in the United States with coronavirus.
Per the NBA:
“The coronavirus remains a situation with the potential to change rapidly.”
The memo also reveals that the NBA and Player’s Association has been consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as a world-renowned infectious disease researcher at Columbia University.
In a statement issued to the AP, the league also stated:
“The health and safety of our employees, teams, players, and fans is paramount. 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.”
Before news of the memo dropped, players were already reacting to the coronavirus. Portland Trail Blazer star, CJ McCollum, announced via Twitter he will be “taking a break” be signing autographs.
Other players are already heeding the NBA’s warnings, New York Knicks power forward/center, Bobby Portis said he has offered fans fist-bump greetings ahead of the Knicks’ matchup with the Houston Rockets.
Miami Heat star, Jimmy Butler, said he wasn’t thinking about avoiding or worried about high fives.
“I don’t think about any of that. I’m still going to be who I am. We’re still going to be who we are.”
Boston Celtics point guard said on Monday, he plans on being cautious but will still continue to sign some autographs.
“I’m pretty sure I’m still going to sign some autographs, but maybe I’ll just walk around with my own marker.”
If you’re wondering what would happen if an NBA star contracted the coronavirus, one team medical official told ESPN that a player could expect to miss two weeks.
Photo: Mario Tama / Getty