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NBA Will Reportedly Limit Locker Room Access Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  JANUARY 10: A generic basketball photo the NBA logo on seats in the arena before the Oklahoma City Thunder game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 10, 2018 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The NBA plans to limit locker room access to only essential team personnel amid coronavirus concerns, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Players, coaches, general managers, and basketball and public relations staff will be among those permitted inside of locker rooms. Media members, however, will have to conduct interviews outside of the locker room.

According to Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, the NBA is limiting access to the locker room and providing suggestions to players for their media availability:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

League told teams these are among recommendations of infectious disease and public health experts. Essential team personnel in locker room would include coaches, front office, basketball staff, PR staff, etc). https://t.co/aCUQmkiLXC

Per Wojnarowski and ESPN's Zach Lowe, the NBA held a conference call Wednesday with team owners to discuss coronavirus concerns and the "next steps for teams."

Wojnarowski added "concerns are escalating among owners and executives that more drastic steps could be coming for the league, including games played with only essential personnel in arenas; the precise scenario that the NBA has required teams be prepared to execute."

Wojnarowski and Lowe reported earlier this month the league issued a memo to teams outlining steps for players to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There were also discussions about how the predraft process might be impacted as a result of the virus.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported last Friday the NBA told teams they should make plans for the possibility of playing games without fans and with only "essential staff" in attendance.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James suggested he was against the idea:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

"If I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there, I ain't playing." LeBron on possibly playing NBA games without any fans in attendance due to coronavirus outbreak. https://t.co/Ee5XMQ40X6

Sports leagues across the world have either altered their schedules or scaled back events in response to the coronavirus.

The BNP Paribas Open, one of the biggest tennis tournaments outside of the four Grand Slams, announced Sunday it was postponing the competition. Italy is expected to postpone the country's sporting events until at least April 3.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported Sunday that MLB was still forging ahead with the start of its regular season March 26. Commissioner Rob Manfred will speak with league owners on a conference call Monday.

According to CNN, more than 108,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed and at least 3,800 people have died as a result of COVID-19.    

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