😷 Good morning. Yesterday was one of the craziest days in sports history, and given the fluidity of the situation, today will probably be just as surreal.
Today's word count: 1,466 words (6 minutes).
Rudy Gobert. Photo: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
The NBA has suspended its season until further notice after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) prior to the Jazz-Thunder game last night in Oklahoma City.
Why it matters: The day began with news that the Warriors were barring fans from their arena and ended with the entire 2019-20 season in peril. The NBA has its patient zero.
How it happened: In a chilling scene, the Thunder's team doctor sprinted onto the court seconds before tip-off and pulled the referees aside. Players were then asked to return to the locker rooms, while fans were serenaded by Frankie J. Then the Thunder PA announcer took the mic:
"Due to unforeseen circumstances the game tonight has been postponed. You are all safe. ... Thank you for coming out tonight."
The entire Thunder team was reportedly tested and quarantined inside the arena, and considering a person with coronavirus can be asymptomatic for up to two weeks, their recent opponents will likely be treated similarly.
Elsewhere: There were four games being played when the NBA made its announcement. Those games were completed, while the Pelicans-Kings game scheduled for later in the evening was postponed.
The big picture: This suspension could have substantial financial repercussions for the NBA depending on how long it lasts.
What they're saying:
The bottom line: There will be no NBA games for at least two weeks as players and team personnel go through quarantine, but in reality it will likely be much longer than that.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Amid what is now officially a pandemic, the NCAA made the unprecedented decision yesterday to prohibit spectators from attending all of its upcoming championships, including the men's and women's basketball tournaments.
Why it matters: March Madness, a cultural phenomenon and one of the biggest sporting events in America, will be played without the Madness of the crowd.
What to watch: Now that the NBA has suspended play, the NCAA will face increased pressure to do the same — and will likely have no choice if and when a player tests positive.
The bottom line: Earlier this week, there was a belief that the coronavirus might have a positive impact on March Madness, because overall interest and TV ratings would go up with so many Americans working from home or self-quarantining.
President Trump announced from the Oval Office last night that all travel from Europe — excluding the U.K. — will be suspended for 30 days, beginning Friday.
China and Korea show that it's possible not only to slow the spread of the virus, but to significantly decrease the number of new daily cases. Italy is the most worrying counterexample, writes Axios' Felix Salmon (sign up for his weekly newsletter, Axios Edge).
TURIN, Italy — Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for COVID-19, which means a 14-day quarantine for him and his teammates and could lead to transformative changes in the European soccer schedule, including the Champions League, where Juventus was set to host Lyon next Tuesday.
PARIS — Barred from entering the Parc de Princes Stadium, some 3,000 Paris Saint-Germain fans gathered outside to chant and light flares — defeating the purpose of the stadium closure in the first place.
PARIS — Inside the empty stadium, Neymar scored an early goal and PSG beat Borussia Dortmund, 2-0, to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit and advance to the Champions Leagues quarterfinals for the first time since 2016.
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool's historic season is suddenly under a strange sort of scrutiny after being eliminated from the Champions League (they won last year) by Atlético Madrid, who scored three goals in extra time. Fans were present.
What a day.
ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece — "The Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch relay got under way on Thursday when the flame was lit by the rays of the sun in ancient Olympia in a scaled-down ceremony overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic." (Reuters)
MELBOURNE, Australia — McLaren Racing has withdrawn from this weekend's Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix following the positive test of a team member.
Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
The USWNT won the 2020 SheBelieves Cup after defeating Japan, 3-1, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, last night.
The backdrop: In court documents made public earlier this week, the U.S. Soccer Federation argued that the USWNT players have less "skill" than the USMNT players, essentially because they are women.
Go deeper: U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro must resign (SI)
Kendall "What is happening" Baker