NBA Asks Players to Avoid Spitting, Clearing Noses, Licking Hands, More Habits

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 17, 2020

PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 04: A general view of NBA basketballs before the game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Washington Wizards at the Moda Center on March 04, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Alika Jenner/Getty Images

In an effort to contain the spreading of germs when the season restarts, the NBA is asking players to refrain from some on-court habits during a normal game. 

Per ESPN's Tim Bontemps, a document in excess of 100 pages from the league tells players "to not spit or clear their noses, wipe the ball with their jerseys, lick their hands or touch their mouths unnecessarily while playing."

Players wiping the ball or licking their hands could be where the biggest adjustments are needed. It's common practice to add moisture to your hand before attempting a free throw, for instance, to get a better feel of the ball. 

There are also times when players do a celebration without thinking about the potential to spread germs. Los Angeles Lakers center Anthony Davis showed off a high-five routine with Avery Bradley during a March 8 game against the Los Angeles Clippers in which he licks his fingers before slapping his teammate's hand.    

Per Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group, Davis said afterward that the act of licking his fingers before the high-five was "disgusting" given the spread of the COVID-19. The NBA season was suspended three days later after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Spitting wouldn't seem to be a significant problem in the NBA, since games are played in an indoor arena. It's more common in MLB or the NFL, but those sports are traditionally contested on natural grass or artificial turf. 

There will be many adjustments for players to make leading up to and during the season. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the season will restart July 30. 

All games will be held at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. 


Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.

 

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