LeBron James Won’t Play If NBA Bans Fans Over Coronavirus Fears

“I ain’t playing if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for.”

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Coronavirus worries are consuming the worlds of sports and entertainment. The latest evidence: an NBA announcement that the league was considering banning fans from live games. Yes, empty arenas save the players on the court.

LeBron James, for one, is not having it. 

Speaking to Sports Center, James sounded incredulous: “We play games without the fans? Nah, that’s impossible. I ain’t playing, if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd, that’s who I play for.”

James went on to reiterate, “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.”

LeBron James

The Miami Sun-Sentinel quoted Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic, who addressed the possibility thoughtfully, saying, “It would be really odd. I know those games are meaningful, but when you play in front of no fans, it feels like a pick-up game or practice.”

Fan attendance at a variety of live events has already been banned in some Asian countries and in Europe, but final decisions haven’t been made in the US, yet. So far, one of the biggest cancellations has been dramatic enough: Austin, Texas’s South by Southwest (SXSW) was canceled for the first time in its history.

Hypebeast speculates the NBA could see a lockout should they enact the ban. So far, it looks like a lose-lose situation.