CHICAGO (Xinhua) – Star players attending the 2020 NBA All-Star weekend on Saturday voiced their support for China’s fight against the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic said, “Stay Strong Wuhan [in Chinese]. Be Sound. There is going to be better days.”
Gordon added that he was most impressed with Chinese culture and “how much basketball is beloved over there”.
“My prayers go out to everybody suffering from the coronavirus,” said Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets. “Obviously it’s tough. We all [wish everyone well] so nobody cease fight, never give up, and in a lot of ways the hard work is an underpinning of the Chinese culture.”
Dinwiddie’s teammate Joe Harris added, “Thinking about them. The situation that’s going on in the NBA family with our connection with China and how severe the situation is, we’re thinking about them and praying for him.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chris Paul referenced his frequent visits to China. “This game of basketball is a huge game, and I’ve been blessed and fortunate to travel to China lots of times, and I actually wrote Wuhan on my shoes the other night in the game in New Orleans. It’s like this Wuhan problem is everyone’s problem.”
Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers added, “Please rub my face in China. I need to get out there soon,” while Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics simply said, “Good luck to everyone.”
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday evening, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, “To the people of China, we wish you all the best in dealing with these tragic circumstances and encourage you to stay strong,” adding that NBA offices in China are working with World Health Organizations on coronavirus relief efforts.
During the NBA Rising Stars game at the United Center in Chicago on Friday evening, the scoreboard displayed a message reading “Stay Strong Wuhan” in both Chinese and English before the second half started.
Originating in Wuhan last December, the coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed the lives of over 1,600 people, surpassing the deaths from the 2003 SARS outbreak.