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LeBron James will refuse to play if coronavirus shuts NBA arenas

Last updated 4 months ago | By Mirror

LA Lakers star LeBron James in action [COURTESY]

LeBron James says he would refuse to play if his Los Angeles Lakers side had to stage games behind closed doors due to the coronavirus.

On Friday, the NBA announced that teams should start preparing for matches without fans in attendance.

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The Athletic reported that the memo outlined the plan ‘if it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present’.

But LeBron was less than impressed with the suggestion.

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He told reporters: “Play games without the fans? No, simple answer.

“I ain’t playing if we haven’t got the fans in the crowd, that’s who I play for.

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“I play for my teammates, I play for the fans, that’s what it’s all about.

“If I show up to an arena and there are no fans in there, I ain’t playing.”

The virus has continued to spread in the United States.

17 people have now died in the US after two deaths in Florida on Friday.

Palm Beach health director Dr. Alina Alonso told the Palm Beach Post: "We expect that we will see the numbers will continue to rise.

"That's normal. That should not be alarming people."

LeBron was speaking after his side’s impressive 113-103 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

That saw the Lakers clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2013.

The three-time champion scored 37 points as he came out on top against reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 32 points.

Anthony Davis also contributed 30 points for LA in what could prove to be a preview of June’s NBA Finals.

The home side went on an 18-0 run in the second half at Staples Center in an intriguing contest between the teams with the two best records in the NBA this season.

The 16-time champions sit top of the Western Conference with a record of 48-13.