Coronavirus: Warriors, NBA won't close arenas yet, but it's still possible

Coronavirus: Warriors, NBA won't close arenas yet, but it's still possible

SAN FRANCISCO – As the global outbreak of deadly coronavirus wreaks havoc on the health of thousands and disrupts the lifestyle of billions, the NBA continues to grapple with an appropriate response.

The prospect of empty arenas remains under consideration.

“It would be different,” Marquese Chriss said Tuesday after shootaround. “At the end of the day, we still have to go do our jobs. But it would definitely feel like an open scrimmage.”

The first substantive move, announced Monday, is that NBA locker rooms -- as well as similar spaces in MLB, NHL and MLS -- would temporarily be off-limits to all non-essential personnel, including media.

The Warriors on Tuesday, after their morning shootaround, had their first experience with the new policy. Rather than have players sit in a chair, inches away from reporters, the Warriors directed Chriss, and then Mychal Mulder, to a podium allowing at least six feet of separation.

The same will apply to all coaches and players engaging with media.

“I don’t think we’re thinking about it too much, basketball-wise,” Chriss said. “It’s more about our health. Just trying to stay clean. Fist-bump. Do as much as we can to limit accidentally spreading bacteria and things like that.

“We’ve been educated on what we need to do, which is washing our hands and keeping our bodily fluids to ourselves, which is hard when you sweat. We’re just trying our best to limit that.”

The global death toll surpassed 4,000 early Tuesday. The U.S. toll was at 29 but is rising, with no end in sight.

The topic is engaging deep and ongoing discussion. Santa Clara County, among the hardest-hit regions in the country, announced Monday that it is banning all public gatherings of 1,000 or more people, clearly impacting the Sharks.

Certain states, like Ohio, are imposing rigid restrictions on indoor sporting events, including the exclusion of fans. The city of Philadelphia is advising to avoid large public gatherings.

The NBA has not taken such strong steps. Not yet. But in the wake of NBA trainers participating in a conference call Monday and CEOs and general managers scheduled to do the same Tuesday, it remains a possibility.

Eight NBA stars who could've hit higher level without major injuries

Eight NBA stars who could've hit higher level without major injuries

The Warriors have dealt with their fair share of significant injuries these last couple of seasons.

Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles, Klay Thompson tore his ACL and Steph Curry broke his hand within a six-month span. All of Dub Nation, as well as other NBA fans, hope that these stars will recover and carry on their Hall of Fame-caliber careers at the same level as they did before their injuries.

However, it's scary to think about how many major stars were not so lucky. Bill Walton's career was derailed by injuries, Larry Bird's back hindered his longevity in the league and Yao Ming's feet couldn't handle much more than eight seasons.

There are countless other examples, and Kerith Burke, Damion Lee and I discussed some of them on this week's episode of the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. We examined the players' careers that we would've loved to see be fulfilled and not hijacked by ailments.

Here are some of those players we listed, plus a few that I could not help but add.


Warriors' Steph Curry explains rationale behind Howard golf donation

Warriors' Steph Curry explains rationale behind Howard golf donation

Warriors star Steph Curry simply was visiting Howard University to attend a screening of a documentary he was an executive producer for called "Emanuel," which focused on the horrific 2015 shooting of nine Black worshipers by a white supremacist inside a Charleston, South Carolina church.

But a single conversation with a Howard student ended up leading to Curry making a donation allowing the school to create a Division I men's and women's golf program, beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.

The amount of Curry's donation wasn't disclosed by the University, but it is expected to support several scholarships, hire a coach and fund the initial recruiting process. One student in particular, Otis Ferguson IV, sparked the idea in Curry's head after the two spoke about Ferguson's hopes of Howard creating a club golf program.

"He told me how much golf means to him," Curry told reporters after the first round of the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe. "The idea came just from that. I heard what he had to say and I was like 'What can we do to bring that Division I program back?' Men's and Women's, and create scholarships, because we know how great the game of golf is, wanting to continue to create access and opportunity, not just playing but also in the business of golf."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

The coronavirus pandemic could have some disastrous impacts on Division I athletic departments over the next few years, but it doesn't sound like Curry's donation is going anywhere.

The recent groundswell of support for the Black Lives Matter movement has brought national attention to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which never have had the same kind of competitive football and men's basketball programs as their other Division I counterparts. Five-star prep basketball prospect Makur Maker committed to Howard's men's basketball program on July 3, which could be just the beginning of a trend of elite prep athletes choosing HBCUs for all sports, not just basketball.

[RELATED: Watch Curry, Canelo Álvarez spar at golf tournament]

Curry's obsession with golf has been well documented throughout his NBA career. He and former teammate Andre Iguodala famously would sneak away during playoff series to get 18 holes in, whether they were at home or in another market. Iguodala recently said he bet a lump sum on Curry to beat the field in Lake Tahoe this weekend at the ACC.

The two-time NBA MVP finished Friday's first-round in 14th place, with 14 points (ACC utilizes golf's Stableford scoring system). Considering Steph's father Dell Curry stood ahead of him in the standings going into Saturday's second round, expect Curry to come out motivated at Edgewood Tahoe South.