Just over two weeks ago, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, which initially prompted the postponement of the Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game, and later the suspension of the season. In the days that followed, a number of other players have come down with the coronavirus, including Gobert’s teammate,Donovan Mitchell, as well as Kevin Durant and Marcus Smart.
But as we know, it’s not just athletes who are dealing with the rapidly spreading virus. ESPN NBA analyst Doris Burke revealed on Friday that she, too, had come down with the coronavirus. Burke, who opened up about her experience in Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast, said she first began feeling symptoms on March 11, which was the same day in which Gobert tested positive. On that night, Burke was broadcasting the Dallas Mavericks–Denver Nuggets game, which was one of the last matchups played before the season was suspended.
She explained that it started off as a headache and tiredness, and that her main symptom throughout the process was extreme fatigue:
And looking back, those were my symptoms. We’ve heard so much Adrian, about shortness of breath, fever, tightness in your chest, chills, body aches, etc. For me, looking back, that was my primary symptom throughout this was that extraordinary fatigue. I took an aspirin that day, I felt better, went about the normal business of trying to prep for the game, do the game. Thursday morning, en route to the airport I had another headache. I had been so tired on that Wednesday that I looked at Ryan Ruocco and said, ‘you know, I think I should call ESPN and ask can I switch my flights and go directly to Los Angeles and rest for a couple of days.’ As opposed to what I was originally was gonna do, which was fly back East on that Thursday, and then fly back to Los Angeles on Saturday morning because I had a Lakers game Sunday, Clippers game Monday, and then I was gonna red-eye back home.
By the time Saturday the 14th hit, Adrian, I was so tired that if I tried to get out of bed from Saturday the 14th through Tuesday, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, I kid you not, I could be out of bed for five minutes without needing to go back to bed and lay down. And it was that Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, I sat thinking, boy, I don’t have any of the normal symptoms, but I thought to myself, it seems to me I should probably get tested. And my daughter is an attorney, her fiance is an attorney, they had come to me on that Thursday and my daughter’s fiance’s mom was a nurse for many years and was a nurse educator and she was quite concerned obviously that perhaps I had, through all the travels, etc., possibly been exposed. And made the decision that Tuesday night, St. Patrick’s Day, to go down to a local city hospital in Philadelphia and get tested. And that’s exactly what I did.
Thankfully, Burke has recovered, and is now able to move freely about her residence. Still, she is following the best practices that doctors recommend, including social distancing — something she wonders how athletes and teams will deal with moving forward.
You think on a broader scale, like, I never turn down a picture of a handshake. And I think obviously moving forward, I don’t know how that works. Obviously the league has got some very difficult and pressing questions that have to be answered, and I think I will certainly acknowledge those fans, but for their own safety — and I would think the players have gotta make these decisions moving forward — because obviously my thoughts immediately when I started to feel poorly, the first thing I did was text — and especially once I decided to get tested in thinking, oh my goodness, I have this COVID-19 — was call every single person that I worked with. And you’re typically on a text chain with your broadcast partners anyway. But I called our stat man who was two seats over from me. So it’s going to be interesting how these athletes handle this moving forward. And I know that I’m going to acknowledge those fans but I think for a while, safe practices would dictate if we get back into arenas things might be different.
Among other topics, Burke spoke to the fear and anxiety this issue is causing for so many people in the U.S. and around the world — those who are wondering if they possibly could have passed it on to someone else, or how their loved ones might be feeling.
But lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Burke said she wants to use her experience to help others.
“So what I would like to know is should I go donate blood or plasma so that if in some way this could help people, if it could help find some sort of vaccine,” Burke said. “So that is on my docket to do, is to research and discover should I go donate blood or plasma in the hopes that somehow this helps somebody down the line.”