LeBron Says He Won’t Play If League Bans Fans

LeBron James at the China tour in 2018. Photo by Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock (9818466f)

LeBron James made a strong statement by saying he wouldn’t play if the NBA decides to ban fans due to the coronavirus outbreak. His interview came after the Lakers beat the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night in a possible Finals matchup.

Although there haven’t been any official rules about this yet, the NBA sent a notice to all 30 teams warning them of the possibility of playing closed-door games to help prevent the spread of the outbreak.

“We play games without the fans?,” James said after dropping 37 in the big showdown. “I ain’t playing. I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates. I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena and there are no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do.” 

A Division III NCAA tournament in Baltimore was the first U.S. sporting event to be held without fans because of the virus. Yeshiva University defeated Worcester Polytechnic Institute in their first-ever NCAA tournament win, as the sounds of basketball with no outside noise echoed through the court.