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Los Angeles (AFP)
American Basketball Legend Magic Johnson called for the resumption of professional league competitions without an audience, considering that the players will adapt to playing in empty halls due to the spread of the new Corona virus.
“The basketball will come back, but most likely without an audience at first sight. Once we play a game without fans in the stands, we cope with their absence,” the former Los Angeles Lakers superstar said in a statement to CNN.
“We all played in our lives in the open air without the fans, so the basketball players will adapt to that, believe me,” said Johnson, 60.
The former playmaker, crowned with five titles with Lakers, added that the league players want to play the entire season with or without fans.
“If they (the players) have a chance to resume playing from where the competitions have stopped, and they are all in good health and have undergone tests (detection of Covid-19 virus), they will do so in order to crown the champion. They want to know who is the best team in the league,” he said. He was “eager to see if the Lakers were able to win the title.”
He added that LeBron James, the current Lakers star, “was right, it is difficult to play without an audience”, referring to the latter’s statement early March when he said he could not imagine playing matches in empty galleries.
Johnson, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Club, said the resumption of professional sports would help the country recover from the Corona virus pandemic, which has so far killed more than 95,000 people worldwide, including 16,600 people in the United States of America.
“We need sports, especially at a time like this. But only if everyone is safe” to exercise, he said.
Johnson emphasized that the NBA will not return until the Covid-19 epidemic stabilizes in the United States and the players can be properly tested.
“There will be a good time. Commissioner Adam Silver did a great job with the NBA. He wants to make sure that the players are safe before they return to the competition. I think the sport will come back. It is only a matter of time we will make sure that this virus will not affect the entire country,” he said. Now, when these numbers drop and settle down, the sport will return. ”
Johnson indicated that he does not know exactly when that will be, and that Baseball League officials are discussing the issue of the resumption of competitions next May.
But some health experts expect that the social divergence measures imposed by the epidemic may remain in effect for much longer due to fears of a worsening health crisis.
A poll conducted by Seton Hall University published on Thursday also showed that 72 percent of Americans said they would not attend sporting events if competitions resumed without a Covid-19 vaccine being discovered.
© 2020 AFP