NBPA's Michele Roberts: 'A Whole Lot of Us' Will Test Positive for Coronavirus

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2020

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 6: NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts speaks to the crowd as she takes part in the 2019 NBA Finals Cares Legacy Project as part of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 6, 2019 at the Ira Jinkins Recreation Center in Oakland, California. 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Seven NBA players have already tested positive for the coronavirus, but that could be the tip of the iceberg.

Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, explained her expectations going forward in an interview with Mark Medina of USA Today:

"A whole lot of us are going to test positive. Even if we aren't positive, we got the virus. I don't intend to disclose identities because there's a stigma attached to that. But I certainly know there will be more players, more league staff and my own staff [that will be tested positive]. I was hearing the numbers that 40 to 50 percent of our population will be positive for the virus, whether or not we test for it."

As of Tuesday, more than 180,000 people around the world have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 7,500 have died, per the World Health Organization. There have been more than 3,500 confirmed cases in the United States.

Among those are several NBA players, including Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. The league quickly suspended the season following news of Gobert's positive test, and other major sports leagues followed shortly thereafter.

The Brooklyn Nets confirmed Tuesday that four of their players have also tested positive for the coronavirus, with one experiencing symptoms, per Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press. Kevin Durant was one of the three who were asymptomatic.

Despite the growing number of cases, Roberts has remained positive about the player's conditions.

"The more I learned about the likelihood of fatalities among all of us given our ages and pre-existing conditions, I have learned to embrace the probability that many of our players will be positive for the virus," she said. "But the goods news is the odds are they will be fine."

The league initially suspended operations for at least 30 days, but the extent to which the virus spreads could lead to a longer absence.

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