LOS ANGELES • Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has called on the younger generation in the United States to practise social distancing as the world battles to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, saying that not doing so is “selfish”.
Smart, three members of the Philadelphia 76ers organisation and two Los Angeles Lakers players have tested positive for the Covid-19 disease, Smart and the National Basketball Association (NBA) teams said on Thursday.
There are now 10 confirmed positive tests among NBA players, but only five have been identified: Smart, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and the Detroit Pistons’ Christian Wood.
“I’m okay, I feel fine. I don’t feel any of the symptoms,” Smart said in a video he posted online.
Later, in addressing social distancing, he tweeted: “The younger generation in our country must self distance. This is not a joke. Not doing so is selfish.
“Together we can beat this, but we must beat it together by being apart for a short while.”
The NBA suspended its season indefinitely last week after Utah centre Gobert became the first player to receive a positive test.
Adam Silver, the league’s commissioner, has said that the shutdown will be “at least 30 days”, but ESPN reported that team owners are bracing for the possibility of play to be resumed only in mid-or late June.
The NBA has also been criticised this week for being entitled to celebrity privilege with players and officials able to get tested, while others in the United States have been unable due to test shortages.
However, several teams, in press statements, said they procured their tests privately and did not drain public resources from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Silver also said that the NBA was acting on the advice of public health authorities.
As of yesterday, there were more than 210 deaths and over 14,000 infections in the country.