The Los Angeles Lakers announced their team are currently symptom-free after two players tested positive for coronavirus.

On March 19, NBA franchise the Lakers revealed a pair of unnamed players contracted COVID-19 amid the pandemic.

But after completing a 14-day home isolation prescribed by team physicians, no Lakers players are showing symptoms.

Coronavirus continues to disrupt sport – including the NBA which is on hiatus – across the globe as countries try to contain COVID-19.

Deaths have exceeded 42,000 globally, with more than 856,800 confirmed cases.

LeBron James said there is no excitement or joy without fans as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar discussed the challenges facing the NBA amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA, like many sports around the world, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed almost 24,000 people globally.

It remains to be seen when and if the 2019-20 season will resume, with commissioner Adam Silver unwilling to provide a return date for the league.

If the campaign relaunches, the prospect of games behind closed doors is likely, something three-time NBA champion James is not looking forward to.

"What is the word 'sport' without 'fan'?" James said on the Road Trippin' Podcast. "There's no excitement. There's no crying. There's no joy. There's no back-and-forth.

"That's what also brings out the competitive side of the players, to know that you're going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you're playing against that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans' ass too.

"So to get back on the floor, I would love it. I'm not going to sit here and say nothing. Like, if it's get out there and get back on the floor five-on-five ... but like, we can do that in scrimmages.

"Let's just go to each other's practice facility, put out a camera, just scrimmage and livestream it. ... I just don't know how we can imagine a sporting event without fans. It's just, it's a weird dynamic."

There has been talk of the NBA heading straight into the playoffs if the season resumes but James, whose Lakers were top of the Western Conference with a 49-14 record prior to the postponement, said: "One thing you can't just do is go straight to the playoffs. Because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position."

After a difficult first season in Los Angeles, James had returned to his brilliant best for the Lakers – the 35-year-old's performances catapulting him into the mix for a fifth MVP award.

At the time of the NBA suspending the league on March 11, James had been averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game.

As such, he is disappointed to lose the rhythm of impressive form he felt was building nicely towards the postseason.

James added: "When you've been building six months of conditioning and preparation and then [it's gone], the narrative that I don't like [is], 'Well, now guys get so much rest' or, like, 'LeBron, he's 35, he's got so many minutes on his body, now he gets so much rest'.

"It's actually the opposite for me because my body, when we stopped playing, was asking me, like, 'What the hell are you doing?'

"My body was like, 'Hey man, what the hell is going on? It's March 13th, you're getting ready for the playoffs, why are you shutting down right now?' And I was right there turning the corner, like, I felt like I was rounding third base, getting ready for the postseason. So the rest factor, I think it's a little bit [overblown]. Especially when you're in the full swing of things."

It is 48 years to the day since the Los Angeles Lakers set a new NBA benchmark with 69 regular-season wins.

Bill Sharman's Lakers routed the Seattle Supersonics to end the year with a 69-13 record and the best win percentage (.841) posted by a team.

The stunning Los Angeles season bettered the Philadelphia 76ers' mark from five years earlier, although the Chicago Bulls and then the Golden State Warriors have since set the standard.

The Warriors' record will stand for at least another year, too, with the 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks faltering following Giannis Antetokounmpo's injury.

With the campaign now paused amid the coronavirus pandemic, we take a look at the teams and seasons that led the way.
 

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: 1966-67 - 68-13 (.840)

Since the Washington Capitols ended the first 60-game NBA season with a 49-11 record in 1946-47, no team had been able to post a regular-season win percentage of .800 or above - until the Sixers.

Philadelphia dominated from start to finish in 1966-67, led by MVP Wilt Chamberlain. The campaign was the first and only to include 81 games, adding another to make the existing 82-game schedule the following year, and the Sixers finished eight games clear of a strong Boston Celtics outfit in the East.

Chamberlain was the only Philly player to make the All-NBA First Team, but the Sixers' depth made them one of the greats, and they ended the year as champions with an NBA Finals success against the San Francisco Warriors.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS: 1971-72 - 69-13 (.841)

With an extra game to play with, it did not take the Lakers too long to edge past the Sixers. And Chamberlain was again the star.

After leaving the Sixers in 1968, Chamberlain was outstanding once again in his penultimate season in the league, while Jerry West - whose silhouette graced a new NBA logo that remains to this day - also impressed.

Chamberlain refused to compare LA to his Philadelphia team after breaking the record, but they ultimately matched the Sixers by claiming the championship, with the veteran the Finals MVP against the New York Knicks.

CHICAGO BULLS: 1995-96 - 72-10 (.878)

It took 24 years and arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport to break the Lakers' record. Michael Jordan lifted the Bulls to the first ever 70-win season in 1995-96.

Playing his first full season back following his initial retirement, there was still no stopping Jordan as he kickstarted the Bulls' second run of three straight championships.

The guard was the MVP, the league's leading scorer and then the Finals MVP, while Chicago finished 12 games clear of the Orlando Magic.

They only lost three more games in the playoffs, too, sweeping the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals before beating the Seattle Supersonics to take the title.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: 2015-16 - 73-9 (.890)

Only two teams have ever broken the 70-win barrier, but the second, the Warriors, remarkably could not follow up their regular-season success with the title.

Golden State won three championships over a four-year stretch but could not get the job done against LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals in 2016.

The Warriors' stunning regular-season efforts overshadowed an impressive 67-win San Antonio Spurs campaign, with Stephen Curry the MVP and top scorer, but the NBA's outstanding team went down to the Cavs in Game Seven.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, chances are you need to look back over the archives if you want to get your daily sporting fix.

Well, we've got you covered for Friday.

March 20 boasts a few notable events throughout sporting history, including a number of Grand Nationals, a heavyweight title fight and the retiring of one of basketball's most famous jerseys.

Here are five of the biggest things to happen in sport on this day...

 

1948 - 50/1 shot mare wins Grand National to end 

The 102nd edition of one of the world's most famous horse races saw Sheila's Cottage, ridden by Arthur Thompson, defy odds of 50/1 to win. She was also the first mare to triumph at Aintree in 46 years and only the 12th in the long and storied history of the steeplechase. Thompson and trainer Neville Trump would record a second win together four years later.

1988 - Mike Tyson knocks out Tyrell Biggs

In Atlantic City, Tyson took on 1984 Olympic gold medallist Tyrell Biggs, who was 15-0 since turning professional and was literally head and shoulders above his opponent, standing at 6 foot 5 compared to Tyson at 5 foot 10.

Still, he was no match for the defending WBA, WBC and IBF champion, who left Biggs bloodied and bruised before sending him crashing to the canvas in round seven. The fight continued but Biggs was knocked down again, leading the referee to halt proceedings and ensure Tyson stretched his record to 32 wins from 32.

1990 - Lakers retire Abdul-Jabbar's jersey

Thirty years ago, the LA Lakers retired the number 33 jersey of Karim Abdul-Jabbar, the man still considered by some to be basketball's greatest.

A six-time NBA champion with the Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks, a winner of six MVP and two Finals MVP awards and 19 times on the All-Star roster, nobody has worn his number 33 for the Lakers since 1990.

2010 - France clinch grand slam

France won their 17th Five/Six Nations title and completed a ninth grand slam after battling to victory over England in Paris.

Les Bleus had powered through the earlier rounds but were made to work hard by England, who dominated the second half after ending the first 12-7 down but could only earn three more points via the boot of Jonny Wilkinson.

They have not won the championship since.

A pair of Los Angeles Lakers players have tested positive for coronavirus, the NBA franchise announced on Thursday.

The Lakers did not release the names of the players, though they did say the pair are currently asymptomatic, in quarantine and under the care of the team's physician.

Lakers physicians and public health officials recommended testing for COVID-19 after four Brooklyn Nets players contracted the virus – Los Angeles played the Nets on March 10.

"All players and members of the Lakers staff are being asked to continue to observe self-quarantine and shelter at home guidelines, closely monitor their health, consult with their personal physicians and maintain constant communication with the team," the statement read.

"The health and well-being of our players, our organisation, our fans, and all those potentially impacted by this situation is paramount. As always, we appreciate the support of our fans, family and friends, and wish everyone affected by this virus a speedy recovery."

It comes after the Philadelphia 76ers announced that three members of the organisation tested positive for coronavirus, while the Denver Nuggets confirmed one case.

Coronavirus continues to disrupt sport – including the NBA – across the globe as countries try to contain COVID-19.

Globally, more than 10,000 people have died from almost 245,000 cases.

There have been over 205 deaths in the United States, with at least 13,700 cases.

Elite-level sport has been paused across the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic that now has over 150,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, competitions have steadily been halted over recent weeks.

Each of Europe's top five football leagues are off, along with the Champions League, while the NBA came to a sudden stop on Wednesday.

Motorsport was hit as Formula One's Australian Grand Prix was postponed, while cricket, tennis, golf, hockey and, initially to a lesser extent, rugby all also took stock.

In a peculiar period with a vastly reduced sporting schedule, a number of stars were therefore left to make alternative plans.

Reigning NBA MVP and leading 2019-20 candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo did not last long before he commented on the boredom he was enduring in the absence of basketball.

The Greek Freak posted on Twitter late on Friday: "If this is how my life is going to be after basketball, I'm not retiring for a long time. #25yearCareer"

Antetokounmpo tagged his girlfriend Mariah Riddlesprigger, who replied: "You will literally drive me crazy so the longer the better."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was revelling in some family time, however, marking Friday 13 by watching a horror movie.

James then filmed his children as they performed a dance for their TikTok accounts, which their famous father promoted on his Instagram story.

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton found a different way to spend his time as the start of the new season was delayed, meanwhile.

"Gutted to not be qualifying today," he wrote on Saturday. "I decided to stick around Melbourne and go indoor rock climbing. It's a great way for me to keep focused."

Hamilton may not have been out on the track, but European Tour golfer Matthias Schwab was – virtually.

The Austrian shared a clip as he multi-tasked, playing a motorsport videogame while keeping fit on his exercise bike.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid had been due to take to the field on Friday before LaLiga went into lockdown, but Sergio Ramos entertained himself and his family.

The Madrid captain uploaded an image to his Instagram story of he and two of his children sporting matching hairstyles.

Ramos added two hashtags, reading, "I stay at home," "We stay at home".

Inter's on-loan Manchester United striker Alexis Sanchez was among the other players left to train at home, and he called his dogs in to help.

The Chile international posted a video, set to Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun, as he juggled a ball with his dogs in pursuit.

Spencer Dinwiddie said the Brooklyn Nets' shock 104-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers felt "big" after he hit the tie-breaking jumper at Staples Center.

Victory over the Western Conference-leading Lakers means the Nets are on a three-game winning streak.

Two of those successes have come since the Nets parted company with coach Kenny Atkinson, who has been replaced on an interim basis by Jacque Vaughn.

The Lakers saw their four-game winning streak halted after Anthony Davis (26 points) missed a last-gasp three-point shot.

Dinwiddie said: "It feels good because [the Lakers are] a high-quality opponent on the road, for sure; for a team that is doing its best right now and continuing to find itself, obviously it's going through injuries and the coaching change as well.

"There's been a ton of up and down and obviously they're one of the two, three [best] teams in the league, championship contenders - Lakers, Clippers and Bucks - so it's big for a group that's learning and is going to try to be a champion."

Dinwiddie, who was born in Los Angeles but has been with the Nets since 2016, admitted it felt sweet to hit the game-winner against the team he once held close to his heart.

"Normally I'd be pretty measured and I'm still pretty measured," he said. "But [I was a] lifelong Lakers fan up until six years ago when I got in the NBA, so this was pretty fun, especially because I know my parents probably really enjoyed it."

Recalling his crucial score, Dinwiddie added: "Everyone did a good job of cutting off my first drive, and then the second attempt was to the left and I was able to kind of get a step and just pull it up and I was fortunate enough to hit the shot."

LeBron James had 29 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers (49-14), while Dinwiddie led the Nets with 23 points.

Vaughn, who served as assistant to Atkinson, said in the post-game news conference: "It's great motivation for our group, great confidence for our group."

The interim coach added: "I talked earlier about how important that is in this game, gives us some momentum. I think there's something to be said about momentum. And then you get guys believing in each other. My job is to instil confidence in these guys and I'll continue to do that."

Vaughn confirmed the Nets would take Kevin Durant, who is battling back from injury but not ready to play games, back to his old team the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

The Brooklyn Nets held on to beat LeBron James and the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers 104-102 in the NBA.

Spencer Dinwiddie (23 points) hit the tie-breaking jumper with 28.3 seconds remaining as the Nets upstaged the streaking Lakers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The Lakers' four-game winning streak came to an end after Anthony Davis (26 points) missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

James had 29 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers (49-14), who were unable to close the gap on the slumping Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) for the league's best record.

The Los Angeles Clippers bounced back from Sunday's loss to the Lakers by routing the Golden State Warriors 131-107 away from home.

Kawhi Leonard posted 23 points before sitting out the entire fourth quarter, along with the rest of the Clippers' starters.

 

Tatum stars as Celtics secure playoff berth

Jayson Tatum put up 30 points for the Boston Celtics, who reached the postseason for the sixth consecutive year. Gordon Hayward added 27 points and 10 rebounds in the 114-111 triumph at the Indiana Pacers.

James Harden scored 37 points and Russell Westbrook finished with 27 as the Houston Rockets topped the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-111, snapping a four-game skid.

Luka Doncic registered 38 points, but it was not enough for the Dallas Mavericks, who lost 119-109 at the San Antonio Spurs.

The Washington Wizards benefited from another big Bradley Beal performance in their 122-115 victory over the New York Knicks. Beal had 40 points, surpassing 25-plus points for the 22nd time in 23 games.

All the Portland Trail Blazers' starters posted double-digit points in a 121-105 win against the Phoenix Suns – Damian Lillard (25), CJ McCollum (22), Trevor Ariza (22), Carmelo Anthony (21) and Hassan Whiteside (16, 14 rebounds).

 

Mulder headlines Warriors woes

With Stephen Curry sidelined by the flu, Mychal Mulder played guard and the 25-year-old struggled for the Warriors. Mulder was one-of-nine from the field and 0 of seven from three-point range for three points in 26 minutes.

Aron Baynes made history on Friday. The Australian joined Harden as the only players in NBA history with 30-plus points, 15-plus rebounds and eight or more three-pointers in a game following his career-high 37 points, 16 rebounds and nine three-pointers for the Suns. However, Baynes was just three-of-14 from the field and one-of-seven from beyond the arc for just seven points against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. He tallied two rebounds in 34 minutes.

 

Russell takes flight

Westbrook hit the runway and soared to the rim for the slam.

 

Tuesday's results

Boston Celtics 114-111 Indiana Pacers
Washington Wizards 122-115 New York Knicks
Chicago Bulls 108-103 Cleveland Cavaliers
Houston Rockets 117-111 Minnesota Timberwolves
Orlando Magic 120-115 Memphis Grizzlies
San Antonio Spurs 119-109 Dallas Mavericks
Portland Trail Blazers 121-105 Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Clippers 131-107 Golden State Warriors
Brooklyn Nets 104-102 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Pistons at 76ers

After an embarrassing loss away to the lowly Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers (38-26) are back on home court against the Detroit Pistons (20-45) on Wednesday. The 76ers are 28-2 in Philadelphia, compared to 10-24 on the road.

LeBron James has backtracked on his comments about refusing to play games behind closed doors due to the spread of coronavirus.

Los Angeles Lakers star James said on Friday he would not take part in matches without fans, something the NBA had reportedly advised teams was a distinct possibility.

The proliferation of COVID-19 has led to all sporting activity in Italy being banned until April 3, while professional football games in Spain and France will be played behind closed doors.

In the United States, MLB, MLS, the NBA and NHL have stopped granting media access to locker rooms for an indefinite period.

James clarified his remarks on Tuesday and claimed he was unaware the possibility of games being played in empty arenas was already under consideration.

"When I was asked the question, 'would you play without any fans?' I had no idea there was a conversation going on behind closed doors about the particular virus," said James.

"Obviously, I would be very disappointed not having the fans, because that's what I play for – I play for my family, I play for the fans.

"If they [the NBA] decide to go to that point [where games are played behind closed doors], I'd be disappointed in that, but at the same time you've got to listen to the people that keep track of what's going on.

"If they feel like it's best for the safety of the players, safety of the franchise, safety of the league to mandate that, then we'll all listen to it."

There have been 472 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the USA as of Tuesday, when the death toll stood at 19.

James was listed as questionable to face the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday but told reporters he intended to play.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is listed as "questionable" for the team's clash with the Brooklyn Nets.

James could miss Tuesday's NBA game against the Nets at Staples Center in Los Angeles due to a sore groin.

Lakers team-mates Anthony Davis (sore elbow) and Alex Caruso (sore hamstring) are "probable".

James posted 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as the Western Conference-leading Lakers downed neighbours the Los Angeles Clippers 112-103 on Sunday.

The three-time champion and four-time MVP is averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game this season.

Sitting atop the west with a 49-13 record, the Lakers are riding a four-game winning streak.

The Milwaukee Bucks were handed a surprise defeat in the NBA, while the Houston Rockets' losing streak continued on Sunday.

Without the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks suffered a 140-131 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Khris Middleton poured in 39 points for Milwaukee, but Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio produced huge performances for Phoenix.

Booker went 13-of-17 from the field for 36 points, while Rubio had a triple-double of 25 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists.

Houston fell to a fourth consecutive loss in a surprise 126-106 defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 47 points for the Rockets.

However, Nikola Vucevic (16 points and 16 rebounds) and Aaron Gordon (19 points and 10 rebounds) had double-doubles for Orlando.

 

LeBron, Davis lift Lakers as Drummond shines

LeBron James (28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds) and Anthony Davis (30 points) saw the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Clippers 112-103.

Andre Drummond's 28 points and 17 rebounds helped the Cleveland Cavaliers past the San Antonio Spurs 132-129 after overtime.

Chris Paul finished with 28 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 105-104 win over the Boston Celtics.

 

Horrible Hachimura

Rui Hachimura, the ninth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, went 0-of-eight from the field in the Washington Wizards' loss to the Miami Heat.

 

Red-hot Robinson

Miami's Duncan Robinson hit at least seven three-pointers for the third straight game.

Sunday's results

Brooklyn Nets 110-107 Chicago Bulls
New Orleans Pelicans 120-107 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Lakers 112-103 Los Angeles Clippers
Oklahoma City Thunder 105-104 Boston Celtics
Phoenix Suns 140-131 Milwaukee Bucks
Miami Heat 100-89 Washington Wizards
Indiana Pacers 112-109 Dallas Mavericks
Orlando Magic 126-106 Houston Rockets
Cleveland Cavaliers 132-129 San Antonio Spurs
New York Knicks 96-84 Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors 118-113 Sacramento Kings

 

Bucks at Nuggets

The Bucks (53-11) get a chance to bounce back against the Denver Nuggets (42-21) on Monday.

Patrick Beverley described guarding LeBron James as "no challenge" after the Los Angeles Clippers' loss to the Lakers on Sunday.

James' 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds helped the Lakers beat the Clippers 112-103 at the Staples Center.

But asked about guarding the four-time NBA MVP, Beverley quickly shut down questions.

"No challenge," the Clippers guard told a news conference.

"No challenge," he said again to a follow-up question before a third was answered with: "Not hard at all."

Anthony Davis (30 points) and Avery Bradley (24) were also key contributors for the Lakers (49-13), while Paul George (31) and Kawhi Leonard (27) led the Clippers (43-20).

Beverley gave the Lakers credit for their victory while calling on his team to bounce back.

"We've got to give them a lot of credit. They came and won a basketball game, they took it personal, you've got to give them a lot of credit," he said.

"This is one game of course, but I live in LA man, it's hard, it's hard to deal with this loss.

"But we have to wash it down in the shower and keep getting better and we will."

LeBron James heralded a "big weekend" for the Los Angeles Lakers as they followed up a defeat of Eastern Conference leaders the Milwaukee Bucks with their first win over the Los Angeles Clippers this season.

The Lakers and the Clippers are the top two seeds in the West as things stand, boasting an array of talents after Anthony Davis joined James last year, while Kawhi Leonard and Paul George went to their rivals.

Although James' Lakers lead the conference, they had been beaten by the Clippers in the sides' prior two meetings.

That run came to an end on Sunday, however, when the four-time MVP came up with 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in a 112-103 road win. Davis finished with 30 points and eight rebounds, as George (31 points) and Leonard (27 points) could not keep the Clippers in the game.

Coming less than 48 hours after the Lakers had beaten the Bucks, James recognised the significance of his team sending a message to their fellow title contenders.

"It was hard fought, two teams that are getting up for the playoff," he told ESPN. "We're still trying to get better. Both teams are trying to get better.

"We won it with our defense, and we won it with our offense at times, as well.

Giannis Antetokounmpo admitted the Milwaukee Bucks "didn't play smart" against the Los Angeles Lakers - but believes his team will learn lessons from Friday's defeat.

LeBron James scored 37 points, had eight rebounds and provided eight assists as the Lakers won the battle between the top seeds in each conference, prevailing 113-103 at Staples Center.

However, the home team were aided by shooting 38 free-throw attempts in the contest, hitting 31 of them, much to Antetokounmpo's frustration.

"We definitely didn't play smart," Antetokounmpo, who led his team with 32 points in a losing cause, told the media after the game. 

"We obviously tried our best. We fight – we fight in every game. We try to stay in every game that we play.

"But they shot 31 free throws. We put them on the line so easily. You take that away and it's 70-odd points. You give them 12 free throws, 14 free throws, and now you have a ball game.

"We've got to do better, obviously. We will learn a lot from this game, go back and watch the tape and get better. Now we've got to move onto the next one."

As well as a potential NBA Finals preview, the game in Los Angeles pitted two of the leading candidates for this season's MVP award against each other.

The home crowd made clear who they believe should get the individual honour, chanting 'MVP! MVP!' for James after he pulled off a spinning dunk in the closing seconds.

Antetokounmpo, however, remains the overwhelming favourite to be crowned for a second successive season.

"It's always good playing against one of the best players in the league," he said. "When you bring the ball down, whenever you go against him, you can feel greatness.

"I've said in the past, that's where I want to be. As I said, he's one of the best players in the game, really smart. He's going to come at you – you've got to be ready to go, ready to fight against him. He's going to get his shots up, get his team-mates the ball."

Khris Middleton endured a tough outing for Milwaukee, finishing with 12 points on a 5-for-19 shooting night, but was backed by Antetokounmpo to keep on letting it go.

"Khris has got to keep shooting," he said of his team-mate. "It doesn't matter if you're having an off night, you're one of the best players in the team.

"A rough night cannot stop you from being who you are. Even if you go 0 for 20, he has to keep shooting."

LeBron James has no intention of playing if NBA games are staged behind closed doors due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

On Friday, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the league had sent memos to teams advising them to prepare for the possibility of games taking place without fans.

That measure has already been implemented in Italy, where a government decree this week stated that all sporting events are to be played behind closed doors until April 3.

The outbreak originated in China but has now spread across most of the world and there have been over 300 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, where 17 people have died.

It has played havoc with the sporting calendar in many countries and Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain saw their trip to Strasbourg postponed this weekend, yet one of the NBA's biggest names is not interested in the possibility of playing in empty arenas.

"We play games without the fans? Nah, it's impossible," the Los Angeles Lakers star told reporters.

"I ain't playing. If I ain't got the fans in the crowd, that's who I play for. I play for my team-mates, the fans, that's what it's all about.

"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.

"I ain't ever played the game without no fans, ever, since I started playing ball.

"I don't give a damn, this isn't Europe. They can do what they want to do."

Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker also hopes it does not come to that for the NBA.

"That would be terrible," he said, as quoted by ESPN.

"That would be boring. They might as well cancel the whole game before that. That would suck.

"But at the end of the day, it is getting serious. I don't know. It would be very weird, though, for sure."

However, James' Lakers team-mate Alex Caruso admitted he would understand if preventative measures were put in place.

"It's a nice privilege to be able to play basketball, but I would like to be able to live many, many years past this," Caruso said.

"If it is a legit thing that needs to be done, do whatever you have to do. People watch on TV way more anyway."

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