Los Angeles Laker LeBron James isn’t down for playing basketball behind closed doors.
The NBA on Friday reportedly told its teams to prepare to play games without fans (following the lead of Italy’s Serie A soccer league and other sports organizations) in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus, which as of Saturday morning had killed at least 17 people in the U.S.
“Play games without the fans? No. That’s impossible. I ain’t playing,” James told reporters after the Lakers’ 113-103 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Staples Center.
“I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for,” James continued. “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.”
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James’ comments came just hours after the worldwide tally for infections passed the 100,000 figure. U.S. federal health officials insist, however, that the immediate health risk to the general public remains low.