LIST: From Rudy Gobert as ‘patient zero’, NBA personalities who contracted COVID-19


Posted at Apr 10 2020 04:00 PM

Considered patient zero, the case that forced the NBA to shutter its season and other North American leagues to follow suit, Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s infection was reported on March 12. Jeffrey Swinger, USA Today Sports/Reuters

Not even the NBA was spared of the novel coronavirus 2019 scourge, a sports landscape-defining episode that began when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was tested positive in early March.

Here is a list of NBA personalities -- including one team owner -- that have contracted COVID-19 in chronological order.

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Considered patient zero, the case that forced the NBA to shutter its season and other North American leagues to follow suit, Gobert’s infection was reported on March 12. (Not long after, the PBA and the MPBL suspended play, too.)

The test result was reported as Utah's game against the Thunder in Oklahoma City was about to begin. The game was abruptly postponed and the players were effectively quarantined in the locker room area.

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice,” the league said. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

A day later, Gobert apologized for potentially exposing people to the coronavirus.

Earlier that week, he had triggered scorn on social media after pointedly touching every microphone and voice recorder on a table in front of him at a media availability.

On March 28, Utah health officials announced they cleared Gobert and the Jazz team of the coronavirus.

Gobert averaged 15.1 points and 13.7 rebounds in 62 games this season.

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

Not long after Gobert was tested positive, Mitchell, too, was confirmed to have had the virus.

An ESPN report said Mitchell (24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists), tested positive in the wake of Gobert’s positive case just before the March 12 scheduled tip-off in Oklahoma City.

The report said that Jazz players privately said Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings.

On March 28, Utah health officials announced they cleared Mitchell and the Jazz team of the coronavirus.

Christian Wood, Detroit Pistons

The team confirmed on March 15 that one of its players tested positive for coronavirus but the Pistons did not release the identity, although multiple American media outlets reported it was Wood.

The Athletic reported that Wood felt "subtle symptoms" and decided to get tested as a precaution.

Wood went up against the Jazz and Gobert on March 7 in Detroit, and the two got mixed up in an incident that resulted in double technical fouls.

Wood averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 62 games.

On March 26, it was announced that Wood’s agent, Adam Pensack, said the Pistons forward was “feeling great and fully recovered.” 

One-time MVP and 2-time NBA champion Kevin Durant was confirmed to be one of four Nets players who contracted the virus, the team said on March 18. Troy Taormina, USA Today Sports/Reuters/file

Kevin Durant and 3 other Brooklyn Nets players

In an announcement on March 18, the one-time NBA MVP became the league’s most high-profile coronavirus case.

The injured Durant, who has yet to play for the Nets since signing for the squad last year, confirmed to The Athletic website he had tested positive for the virus.

News that the two-time NBA Finals MVP was among those who had contracted the virus came soon after the Nets confirmed four players had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Four Brooklyn Nets players have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus,” the team said in a statement. “Of the four, one player is exhibiting symptoms while three are asymptomatic.”

On April 2, the Nets announced that their team completed 14-day home isolations without any players showing symptoms of coronavirus.

2 unidentified Los Angeles Lakers players 

In a statement on March 19, the team did not identify the infected players but said they were tested along with the rest of the team because of a March 10 game against the Nets. 

Two weeks after the news broke, the team said on April 1 that all players are symptom-free after a completing a 14-day period of home isolation.

ESPN reported that 14 of the 17 players on the Lakers' roster (including those on two-way contracts) were tested, and that the tests did not require the players to get out of their vehicles.

Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

On March 19, the Celtics guard announced on Twitter: “I was tested 5 days ago and the results came back tonight, which were positive. Ive been self quarantined since the test, thank goodness. COVID-19 must be taken w the highest of seriousness. I know it's a #1 priority for our nations health experts, & we must get more testing ASAP.”

Smart was scoring a career-high 13.5 points in 53 games for the Celtics before the NBA season was shut down.

On March 30, he announced that he was cleared of the virus. 

On April 1, Smart said in an ESPN report that he planned to donate blood if it could help find a cure for the COVID-19.

Unidentified members of the Denver Nuggets organization

The report came out on March 20, but the team did not reveal the identity of the person, nor announce whether it was a player or staff member who had tested positive for coronavirus.

The status of the infected is not known at this time.

Unidentified members of the Philadelphia 76ers organization

Three members of the Sixers organization tested positive for coronavirus, the team announced on March 20, but it didn't disclose which individuals tested positive for COVID-19. 

The status of the infected is not known at this time.

Jason Collins, retired

The 13-year veteran revealed on March 25 that he tested positive for the virus.

Collins said he believes he caught it on March 4 when the Nets hosted the Memphis Grizzlies. His current status is not yet known.

He averaged 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in 735 career games.

James Dolan, New York Knicks owner

A statement issued by the team on March 29 said: “He has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms. He continues to oversee business operations.” 

Dolan is the first known major professional sports owner in the U.S. to test positive for COVID-19.

Dolan also owns the NHL's New York Rangers and is executive chairman and CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company.

-- With reports from Agence France-Presse and Reuters