- LeBron James said he would play games without fans should the NBA decide to take such precautions to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
- This was in stark contrast to his original comments.
- The coronavirus outbreak has already forced some sports across the world to drastically change their schedules, with some leagues opting to play games in empty arenas.
- James had previously said he wouldn't play without fans in attendance, but said on Tuesday that he would listen if the league decided it was the best course of action.
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LeBron James walked back some of his comments from over the weekend on Tuesday, telling reporters that he would listen to whatever the league thought was best if the NBA was forced to begin playing games behind closed doors in order to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
James had said on Saturday, "If I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there, I ain't playing. They can do what they want to do."
But on Tuesday, James conceded that he had not been aware of the conversations already taking place with regard to the virus, and said that while he would be disappointed, he would still play without fans at the arena.
"Well it's funny because when I was asked the question of would you play without no fans, I had no idea that there was actually a conversation going behind closed doors about the particular virus," James said. "Obviously I would be very disappointed not having the fans, because that is what I play for — I play for my family, I play for my fans."
"They say no one could actually come to the game if they decide to go to that point, so I would be disappointed in that," James said. "But at the same time, you got to listen to the people that's keeping a track on what's going on. If they feel like it's best for the safety of the players, the safety of the franchise, the safety of the league to mandate that, then we all listen to it."
The NBA has already taken some precautions with regard to the virus, limiting locker room access to reporters post-game and encouraging players to embrace fist bumps over high fives with fans and take similar precautions with regard to autographs.
Stopping fans from attending games would be a far more drastic measure, but it's one that some leagues have already taken. With the homestretch of the NBA season upon us, and in college basketball, March Madness just a week away, the power brokers of the basketball world might have some difficult decisions to make in the near future.
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