Mar 3, 2020 - Sports

NBA advises players to avoid high-fives to limit coronavirus spread

The Brooklyn Nets' Taurean Prince high-fiving coaches in a game against the Miami Heat
The Brooklyn Nets' Taurean Prince high-fiving coaches during a game against the Miami Heat. Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The NBA advised players in a Monday memo to use fist-bumps instead of high-fives when interacting with fans to decrease their chances of contracting the coronavirus, ESPN reports.

Why it matters: Many NBA front offices are worried that a severe outbreak in the U.S. could scuttle games and disrupt pre-draft combines and on-site workouts, limiting the league's recruitment efforts.

  • It also advised that players limit signing autographs for fans to reduce potential exposure.
  • The NBA told teams that it's consulting with the CDC and infectious-disease experts, including a researcher at Columbia University and will update them with the latest developments.

What they're saying: "The coronavirus remains a situation with the potential to change rapidly," the league told teams in the memo.

  • The Portland Trail Blazers' CJ McCollum is heeding the league's advice, saying in a tweet that he is "taking a break from signing autographs until further notice" since a case of the virus was confirmed in Oregon.
  • The Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler told ESPN that he wasn't worried or thinking about avoiding high-fives. "I don't think about any of that," Butler said. "I'm still going to be who I am. We're still going to be who we are."

The big picture: Numerous sports leagues around the world are taking precautionary measures to limit the spread of the virus — from playing in empty stadiums to delaying or canceling events.

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