Former Arizona standout Richard Jefferson said on ESPN tonight of the NBA’s postponement of games the remainder of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic: “There’s uncertainty … it’s for public health. They’re doing the right thing.”
Jefferson, who played 18 years in the NBA after his Arizona career concluded in 2001, was supposed to broadcast the New Orleans Pelicans-Sacramento Kings game on ESPN. The game was scheduled to be played despite the NBA announcing earlier that tonight’s games would still go on but games starting tomorrow would be suspended.
Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert has reportedly been tested positive for the coronavirus. He played Monday for the Jazz in their home game against Toronto. One of the referees who worked that game, Courtney Kirkland, was scheduled to officiate the Pelicans-Kings game.
Tonight’s game was suspended a few minutes before tipoff was scheduled.
“When one player gets it … you’re all doing the same thing, you’re drinking the same water, you’re all doing the exact same thing in a confined area,” Jefferson said. “I understand why the NBA is being extremely cautious.”
Jefferson’s broadcast partner Dave Pasch asked how the indefinite suspension of the season will affect the players.
“This is similar to a lockdown,” Jefferson said. “You just have to prepare; you have to stay ready. You have to make sure you’re mentally locked in … it’s going to be difficult. You don’t have an end date or a day that you’re working towards.
“I think players and fans need to understand that this is the best case possible to make sure that everyone stays healthy and that you limit the spread of this disease.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.