LeBron James says ‘I ain’t playing’ in empty arenas if the NBA decides to ban fans amid coronavirus concerns

Throughout the course of much of his career, LeBron James has worked hard for the goodwill of as many basketball fans as possible in seemingly every way, shape and form. This latest effort comes in response to the NBA reportedly circulating a memo on Friday telling teams to prepare to play in empty arenas

This would only happen if the league decides that the threat of coronavirus warrants such action. However, even with this reported memo coming from up top, James dismissed the idea of playing in front of no fans outright after the Lakers’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

“We play games without the fans? Nah, that’s impossible,” James told reporters, according to the Associated Press. “I ain’t playing if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates, and I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. So 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.”

Perhaps the strong response comes as a result of this possibility being more likely than it would have been just a day or two prior. A Division III NCAA  men’s basketball tournament game was played without fans on Friday, a step that had only been taken overseas before then. 

James has invoked basketball fans before when speaking about his playing time. When asked about the topic of load management back in December, he told reporters that he’ll always play if he’s healthy because he wants to make sure kids that want to watch him get that chance.

“I mean, I don’t know how many games I got left in my career,” James said per The Los Angeles Times. “I don’t know how many kids that may show up to a game and they’re there to come see me play and if I sit out, then what? That’s my obligation.”

Source link