Past recipients of a LeBron James high-five may be the owners of relics.
Whenever the NBA gets back to playing basketball, after the coronavirus pandemic forced its season to be suspended indefinitely, James might be taking some extra precautions to stay healthy.
“I ain’t high-fiving nobody for the rest of my life after this s—,” James said, somewhat jokingly, on the “Road Trippin’ Podcast.” “No more high-fiving. After this corona s–t? Wait ’til you see me and my teammates’ handshakes after this s–t.”
The NBA took the lead on suspending its season after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. At least 10 NBA players in total have tested positive for COVID-19, including two Lakers and four Nets, one of whom was Kevin Durant.
While the players who have gone public about testing positive have indicated they are on the road to recovery, it could make for some uneasy feelings upon returning to play.
“So what happens when a guy who is tested positive for corona and you’re out there on the floor with him and it’s a loose ball?” James said.
In order to start back up as soon as possible, the NBA could opt to play some games without fans. James originally said he wouldn’t play if no fans were in attendance, and while he has since changed his stance, he said it still wouldn’t be the same.
“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.”
The 35-year-old James, who is on the hunt for his fourth NBA championship, said he will start ramping up his training on Monday, even though the league has yet to set a return date.
“When you’ve been building six months of conditioning and preparation and then [it’s gone], the narrative that I don’t like [is], ‘Well, now guys get so much rest.’ Or, like, ‘LeBron, he’s 35, he’s got so many minutes on his body, now he gets so much rest,’” he said. “It’s actually the opposite for me because my body, when we stopped playing, was asking me, like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’”