On Thursday night, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released an open letter to the league’s fans, which reads as follows:
Dear NBA Fan,
As you know, we have temporarily suspended our season in response to the coronavirus pandemic. We made this decision to safeguard the health and well-being of fans, players, everyone connected to our game and the general public. This hiatus will last at least 30 days and we intend to resume the season, if and when it becomes safe for all concerned.
In the meantime, we will continue to coordinate with infectious disease and public health experts along with government officials to determine safe protocols for resuming our games. As we develop the appropriate course for future NBA games and events, we will keep you informed of any changes as soon as they happen. Tickets already purchased for a postponed game will be honored when the game is rescheduled. If games are not played or played in an empty arena, teams will work with fans on a credit for a future game or a refund.
We encourage you to visit NBA.com for the latest news, updates and interactive features to stay connected to the game. You will also find guidelines on how to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.
This remains a complicated and rapidly evolving situation that reminds us that we are all part of a broader society with a responsibility to look out for one another. That is what the NBA will continue to do, and we are grateful for your understanding and for being the best fans in sports.
The letter was Silver’s first written statement since the NBA decided to suspend its season for at least one month following the news that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, or the coronavirus on Wednesday. Since then, Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell has tested positive too.
Silver has earned a reputation for saying and doing the right things as the league’s commissioner, from his decision to change the NBA All-Star Game format in 2018, to his restructuring of the NBA Draft Lottery percentages in 2019. While the issue of public health is much bigger than basketball, Silver has responded well to everything that’s unfolded over the last few days too, and on Thursday Lakers All-Star forward LeBron James praised the commissioner for his open letter.
James also used Silver’s letter as an opportunity to address Lakers fans.
LeBron on IG just now pic.twitter.com/1bb0hnFLY4— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) March 13, 2020
There’s no doubt that Lakers fans miss James and the rest of the team just as much, but it’s in everyone’s best interest to avoid large gatherings and close contact for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, in a month’s time, we can all get back to cheering on the Lakers in their quest to add lucky No. 17.