Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James does not like the idea of playing in empty arenas because of the Coronavirus and the king has a point.
The NBA league office has recently been in talks with team owners and executives discussing the possibilities of not allowing fans to attend NBA games for an uncertain amount of time due to the Coronavirus. When asked about this in a post-game interview after the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Lakers superstar LeBron James was quoted as saying,
"“I ain’t playing if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates, and I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. So if I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do.”"
If James is taking a serious stance on this issue, it could be harmful to the Lakers or be exactly what the team needs all depending on how long the league decides fans will be excluded from games. If the ban does not happen or is over before the playoffs begin, it could be the perfect scenario for LeBron and the rest of the Lakers.
For one, it will give LeBron, who is thirty-five years old and has the most basketball miles on his body that we have ever seen, around a fifteen to twenty game break would give him a month and a half of much-needed rest while keeping his promise to end load management.
However, sitting out these games would most likely kill his MVP candidacy, which has been brought to the forefront after the amazing weekend he and the Lakers had against the Bucks and Clippers.
Also, LeBron sitting out would give the rest of the team to learn how to play without him. This is something that would be amazing for the Lakers in the first rounds of the playoffs. It would allow LeBron to spend extended breaks on the bench without the team falling to shambles like we have seen time and time again in his previous playoff runs.
However, if the fan ban was to last into the playoffs it could be the end of any championship hopes the Lakers have if James chooses to sit out.
The first round against a team like the Grizzlies or Pelicans would be manageable with LeBron on the bench; however, looking past that, series against teams like the Rockets, Clippers, and Bucks will be challenges for the team even with LeBron on the court.
Without LeBron playing in these series, it would be almost guaranteed the Lakers could not win a title. It will be interesting to see just how the league and LeBron will handle this situation, and under the right circumstances could be perfect for the Lakers to achieve all the playoff preparation necessary to win a title.
For more information about the COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.