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REPORT: California governor says sports unlikely to return with fans this summer

NBA, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, De'Aaron Fox, Gavin Newsom

In a blow to any semblance of hope for the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers to compete at the Staples Center by the summer, California Governor Gavin Newsom remarked on Tuesday that sports — including NBA basketball — in the west coast state are “unlikely” to return in the next few months.

“The prospect of mass gatherings is [negligible] at best until we get to herd immunity and get to a vaccine,” the first-term Democratic governor told the press on Tuesday afternoon, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin.

Newsom cites sports games as mass gatherings that would hurt chances to prevent the outbreak and spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), which has led to the deaths of thousands in the United States and around the world during the pandemic. Two players on the Lakers tested positive for the coronavirus last month, as they joined players and staff of half a dozen other NBA teams being afflicted by the contagious virus.

Working on a vaccine presents another challenge in the current public health crisis, given estimates stretch a timeline up to a year or close to a year and half. Due to the inability to prevent the spread of coronavirus — along some knowledge failing to spot asymptomatic carriers of the virus — crowding together to watch NBA basketball may not be feasible within the next few months.

The NBA has presented multiple solutions to resume its 2019-20 season, which saw the Lakers and Clippers at the top of the Western Conference standings at the end of March. The league could also play at a neutral location without fans in attendance and try to finish the season and playoffs by Labor Day.