Georges Niang Remembers Jazz vs. Thunder Coronavirus Cancellation

The night the NBA got postponed in March, Niang and the Jazz didn't know if they'd have tests or a hotel room.

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Georges Niang initially thought the Thunder backed out of a pivotal game. With rumors circulating that Rudy Gobert had coronavirus after he missed shootaround that morning. The team speculated, but still didn’t believe what happened.

Niang and the Jazz noticed Rudy Gobert missing from shootaround in Oklahoma City and the rumors swirled. Players heard he tested negative for everything, but had no assurance of his COVID status. Suddenly, moments before tip-off, officials in suits stormed the court with news that sent both teams to the locker room. Listen hear for part two of the story with Jeff Goodman and Bob Ryan: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/k7LhSaL6VljqSGw3QuWThe CLNS Media Network is the leading provider for video/audio content. CLNS is a fully credentialed member of the media with access to all NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB teams & venues.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------VISIT US AT https://clnsmedia.comFor CLNS Media Production Studio, go to http://youtube.com/clnsmediaFollow CLNS Media on Twitter - @CLNSMediaFollow CLNS Media on Facebook - http://facebook.com/clnsmediaFollow CLNS Media on INSTA - http://Instagram.com/clnsmediaDownload the FREE CLNS Media mobile app for iOS & GooglePlay

Officials in suits darted out of the locker room after the national anthem and starting lineup announcements. Niang couldn’t believe it. Before a critical game between the four and five seeds in the western conference, he believed Oklahoma City used COVID as an excuse to not play. Instead, within moments, the entire NBA shut down for over three months.

 

Georges Niang initially thought the Thunder backed out of a pivotal game. With rumors circulating that Rudy Gobert had coronavirus after he missed shootaround that morning. The team speculated, but still didn’t believe what happened. Officials in suits darted out of the locker room after the nationa

“Then they send us back to the locker room and I was like, this has never happened in the game of basketball for me,” Niang said. “So I knew this couldn’t be good.”

As the NBA prepares to return teams to their cities and outline a plan to resume play in one or two isolated cities, Niang joined Bob Ryan and Jeff Goodman’s CLNS Media podcast to remember the day this shutdown began.

Niang described mayhem in the locker room when head coach Quin Snyder announced that Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. Jordan Clarkson had assumed as much when he heard his tests for other conditions like the flu returned negative. Niang and Bojan Bogdanovic stared at each other wondering if they had it.

“It was kind of like being trapped in your own mind,” he said. “We were stuck in that locker room for six hours. People were saying we’re going to get you to a hotel to get tested, but we know between us, what hotel is going to take 53 potential coronavirus hosts?”

The questions raced as phones rang repeatedly. Some phoned private jet companies. Finally, tests arrived before 2 a.m. and a Residence Inn took the team.

Quin Snyder announced to the Jazz in Oklahoma City that Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus in March, sending the room into "mayhem," as Georges Niang remembered. Some players called for private jets, others wondered if they'd even get tests or a hotel. After six hours in a quarantined locker room, the group found a hotel, with a receptionist who already knew their ordeal. Listen to part one of Niang's conversation about that night here: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/k5ZymUseZs3B6Tw3QoKThe CLNS Media Network is the leading provider for video/audio content. CLNS is a fully credentialed member of the media with access to all NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB teams & venues.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------VISIT US AT https://clnsmedia.comFor CLNS Media Production Studio, go to http://youtube.com/clnsmediaFollow CLNS Media on Twitter - @CLNSMediaFollow CLNS Media on Facebook - http://facebook.com/clnsmediaFollow CLNS Media on INSTA - http://Instagram.com/clnsmediaDownload the FREE CLNS Media mobile app for iOS & GooglePlay

When the morning arrived, each player texted the group chat to report negative results. Then Donovan Mitchell reported his own, the second positive test in the NBA.

The Jazz found a Delta flight for the morning to return to Salt Lake City for a 14 day quarantine. Since then, the league has thrown around ideas to safely return to play and appears primed to do so in July. The players union has played ball, but with lingering concerns abound reflected by the uncertainty and anxiety of that night where the crowd flooded out before tip-off.

Listen to the rest of Ryan and Goodman’s conversation with Niang here and subscribe to CLNS Media’s channel on Youtube and Dailymotion