The NBA has been rocked by a day of mayhem, with league officials forced to suspend the season moments after Utah’s match against Oklahoma was called off seconds before tip-off.
The Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City game was all set to get started on Wednesday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Then, suddenly, the game was postponed and players were pulled from the court.
Just seconds before the game was set to begin, officials called players off the floor and sent them to their respective benches while officials and both coach Billy Donovan and Quinn Snyder conferred in front of the scorer’s table.
Shortly after, both teams and the officials left the floor completely.
Confusion was rife within the stadium as viewers were unaware whether the match would go ahead for a considerable time after the delay.
Thunder and Jazz players were sent back to the locker room 😬— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) March 12, 2020
No official word on whether the game has been postponed just yet.pic.twitter.com/00sCmLI2uN
The NBA is complete chaos right now— Ronan O'Ceilleachair (@Ronanoc_98) March 12, 2020
While both teams were in the locker rooms, the Thunder proceeded to run the halftime performance and throw out shirts to fans inside the arena.
Officials then announced that the game would be postponed to a later date without specifying a reason, and that everyone needs to leave the arena. The arena announcer assured fans multiple times that there was no emergency.
Breaking: The Thunder-Jazz game has been postponed to a later date, per the NBA. pic.twitter.com/4z8liN5Kra— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2020
Conspiracy theories quickly began emerging on social media that Rudy Gobert may have been the cause of the chaos.
The Jazz centre was ruled out before the match with illness, days after attempting to make light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Claiming the situation had been blown out of proportion, Gobert proceeded to touch every microphone during a post-game press conference.
NBA fans are now convinced Gobert is reason officials were forced to postpone Utah's latest match.
Rudy Gobert two days ago reportedly touched every mic and the reporters to downplay the Coronavirus, now he is sick and they had to cancel tonight’s game b/c of him. Dude gonna be wearing a Scarlet Letter if NBA Postpones/Cancels #NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/AAUfglu4O2— Matt Painter I (@MursePainter) March 12, 2020
Rudy Gobert is so good at defense that hes now stopping full games from happening. #DPOY— Jason Karen (@jkaren614) March 12, 2020
NBA just following the cause of creating as much chaos as possible...if it really is bc of goberts illness, they knew about it all day yet didn’t cancel the game til game time...just stirring that pot!— John (@FantasyNut9) March 12, 2020
Remarkably, reports emerged shortly after the game was called off that backed up fans' theories on social media.
The Athletic's Shams Charania tweeted that Gobert had in fact tested positive for coronavirus.
Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert has tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
Sources say Gobert is feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight.
In an even more dramatic twist, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly afterwards that the NBA season had been suspended in the wake of the news.
The NBA appeared to back up the news in a social media post of their own to announce the season’s suspension.
NBA To Suspend Season Following Tonight's Games pic.twitter.com/2PTx2fkLlW— NBA (@NBA) March 12, 2020
It’s not immediately clear when the NBA season is likely to resume or what effect the suspension will have on the playoffs.
With Yahoo Sports US