Chase Center will be devoid of fans Thursday when the Golden State Warriors welcome the Brooklyn Nets to San Francisco in the first of what could be many NBA games played in an empty arena.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday a mandate banning events with more than 1,000 people for at least two weeks.
"For me, it's unprecedented. It's a unique situation. Everyone is trying to make the best of it, keep things business as usual," Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said Wednesday.
Players and coaches for the Warriors were informed of the protocol at a brief meeting with general manager Bob Myers on Wednesday. Myers described the mood as silent and somber.
Myers said the news is a "hard, sobering moment to enter into this unknown."
NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league is in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and will take further direction as needed in what is a rapidly developing situation. For fear of a health crisis, already a similar ban is in place in Ohio that will impact the Cleveland Cavaliers but a broad order to limit stadium gatherings could make the move commonplace for a period of time.
Golden State is 15-50 and in last place in the Western Conference. Thursday was supposed to be the return to the region for Nets forward Kevin Durant, who left the Warriors via sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets in July. While the injured Durant (Achilles) is still planning to attend the game, fans will not be around to share their reaction in the franchise's new building.
"It's a joy having him around, to be able to bounce ideas off him, to get his reactions throughout the course of the game," said Vaughn. "And to be a teammate and have him sit next to you and give you confidence and give you support and guidance, it's a luxury."
--Field Level Media