It was March 11, 2020, and the Utah Jazz were set to tip off against the Oklahoma City Thunder when everything stopped.
Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 after he joked about the virus at a previous post-game press conference. It was also on March 11, 2020 when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Before that night, the NBA was making plans to play games without fans. Little did we know what would happen next.
“Please leave your broadcast site and immediately come to the locker room and bring all of your things with you,” David Locke, host of Locked On Jazz and the radio voice for the Utah Jazz, recalled. “I’ll never forget that night.”
“Everything from the doctor running out on the court to stop action, literally as we were about to tip," Locke explained his experience from that night on the latest episode of Locked On Today. "On a personal note, having to reach out to my family."
Not only would sports come to a complete stop, but the world also seemed to stop with it. Panic set in across the country. Neighbors were posting on local town Facebook pages that they needed a roll of toilet paper because no stores within 30 minutes had any. Grocery stores set up special hours for the elderly, and many started ordering everything online.
A year later, sports have returned and three different vaccines are now being distributed in the U.S. Fans are returning to sporting events and we no longer fear major event cancellations. While most teams plan to gradually welcome back fans, the Texas Rangers are opening their stadium up to 100% capacity for Opening Day. What a difference a year makes.