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LeBron James now open to playing without fans: ‘No idea that there was actually a conversation going on’

Lakers star LeBron James

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 3: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers high fives the fans after the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 03, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, 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 2020 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James said he wouldn’t play if the NBA held games in fan-less arenas.

Well, expectations are growing the league will hold games in fan-less arenas due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mark Media of USA Today:


Well, it’s funny. Because when I was asked the question – would you play without no fans? – I had no idea that there was actually a conversation going on behind closed doors about the particular virus. Obviously, I would be very disappointed, not having the fans, because that’s who I play for. I play for my family. I play for my fans. They’re saying no one could come to the game if they decide to go that point. So, I’d be disappointed in that. But, at the same time, you’ve got to listen to the people that’s keeping track on what’s going on. And if they feel like it’s best for the safety of the players, the safety of the franchise, the safety of the league to mandate that, then we all listen to them.

LeBron James is busy leading the Lakers in a championship quest. It’s an exhausting full-time job. Nobody is asking him to also direct operations in containing the coronavirus.

I also believe LeBron’s initial sentiment came from a well-intentioned place. He has proven his commitment to putting on a show for fans.

But this is also a reason to question how much stock to put into LeBron’s statements on societal issues. His focus is often elsewhere. That’s perfectly fine. He has both a right to focus on work and a right to speak out on whatever he wants. It’s just on us to judge how much credence to give him.

That said, good for LeBron for acknowledging that he was wrong and evolving his thinking. Not everyone would do that.