Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is well known for the special individualized handshakes that he develops with his teammates. However, after the outbrteak of the coronavirus, and the fact that it can be transmitted through hand-to-hand contact, James said that he plans to completely remove high-fives from his repertoire.
“I ain’t high-fiving nobody for the rest of my life after this s—,” James said during an appearance on the Road Trippin’ Podcast hosted by his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, via ESPN. “No more high-fiving. After this corona s—? Wait ’til you see me and my teammates’ handshakes after this s—.”
Though James may have been speaking in jest, it’s clear that he’s taking the situation seriously. During his appearance on the podcast James also discussed how ambivalent he would be about playing in empty arenas when — and if — the season does ultimately resume; an idea that has been floated as a possibility.
“What is the word ‘sport’ without ‘fan’?” James asked. “There’s no excitement. There’s no crying. There’s no joy. There’s no back-and-forth … That’s what also brings out the competitive side of the players to know that you’re going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you’re playing against that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans’ ass too.
“So to get back on the floor, I would love it. I’m not going to sit here and say nothing. Like, if it’s get out there and get back on the floor 5-on-5 … but like, we can do that in scrimmages. Let’s just go to each other’s practice facility, put out a camera, just scrimmage and livestream it. … I just don’t know how we can imagine a sporting event without fans. It’s just, it’s a weird dynamic.”
James certainly isn’t the only player that would feel weird playing meaningful NBA games without fans in attendance, as the sentiment is likely shared by the vast majority of players across the league’s landscape. But, at the end of the day any basketball is better than no basketball, so if that’s what the league ultimately decides to do the players will surely accept the decision.