Sports

Coronavirus: Here's what's happening in the sports world on Tuesday

Stay up to date on the latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe.

Fans granted wish for early release of Michael Jordan documentary series

(Illustration by Steve Tzemis/CBC)

The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:

  • Kevin Durant headlines players in NBA 2K video game tournament
  • Oakland A's minor league manager on ventilator due to COVID-19
  • Virus could wipe out tennis season, says Australian exec
  • Michael Jordan documentary series to begin April 19
  • China orders major sports to remain suspended
  • MLB extends pay for minor leaguers through May
  • Hungarian Olympic swimmer contracts virus

Durant to compete in NBA 2K tourney to support relief efforts

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant will headline the list of 16 National Basketball Association players who will compete in a NBA 2K video game tournament to help support coronavirus relief efforts, the NBA and its esports arm said on Tuesday.

Durant, the NBA's most prominent name to test positive for the coronavirus, is the top seed in the players-only tournament that begins on Friday and concludes on April 11.

The tournament, during which players will compete from their homes, was announced three weeks after the NBA suspended its season until further notice after one its players tested positive for coronavirus.

Two-times NBA champion Durant, who has been sidelined with an Achilles injury suffered during last June's NBA Finals while a member of the Golden State Warriors, will open the tournament against Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. on Friday.

A's minor league manager on ventilator due to virus

Oakland Athletics minor league manager Webster Garrison is hospitalized in Louisiana and on a ventilator with the coronavirus, according to his fiance.

Nikki Trudeaux posted her latest update Monday night on social media. She said the 54-year-old former major leaguer still required a ventilator to fight COVID-19 but hadn't declined in his battle.

"He is not getting worse! He is fighting hard and making small milestones," she wrote on Twitter. Trudeaux has been asking for nightly prayers with the hash tag "WebbyStrong."

The A's said Tuesday there were no updates on a minor league staffer — they have not identified him — and said there have not been other positive tests within the organization.

Oakland released a a statement during the weekend that "a minor league staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 and is under hospital care."

Tennis season could be lost, Australian exec says

Tennis could lose the remainder of the 2020 season to the coronavirus pandemic, Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley has said.

The tennis season screeched to a halt in early March due to the respiratory illness, which has infected almost 800,000 in the world while killing over 38,500 since emerging in China late last year.

The men's ATP Tour and the WTA, which runs the women's circuit, have suspended all tournaments until June 7 after countries started locking down borders to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

"My personal view is I think for tennis to come back this year is going to be tough," Tiley told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

"It relies on global travel, and I think that's probably the last thing that's going to come back. I think sports that have a domestic focus are in a strong position and sports that have a global focus are more challenged."

Michael Jordan doc released early in midst of pandemic

The long-awaited look at Michael Jordan's last championship season with the Chicago Bulls is finally set for release.

ESPN and Netflix announced Tuesday the 10-part documentary series, The Last Dance, will run in the United States over five consecutive Sunday nights starting April 19 and running through May 17. There will be two hour-long episodes on each of those nights, airing back-to-back at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET.

Sports fans have clamoured on social media for the series to be moved up in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and with most sporting events cancelled or postponed. The series will include never-before-seen footage from that season, one where the team chased its sixth championship in a span of eight years.

"Michael Jordan and the '90s Bulls weren't just sports superstars, they were a global phenomenon," said Jason Hehir, who directed the series. "Making The Last Dance was an incredible opportunity to explore the extraordinary impact of one man and one team."

The series will air in the U.S. on ESPN and internationally on Netflix. Subscribers on Netflix can view two new episodes on each Monday from April 20 through May 18.

China orders major sports to remain suspended

China's government has ordered all major sports events to remain suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak, meaning the country's basketball league will have to push back its planned restart.

The Chinese Basketball Association had hoped to resume play in mid-April but was denied government approval to do so. Instead, China's General Administration of Sport issued a statement saying any large sporting events that draw crowds "are temporarily not being resumed."

The agency did not give a timeline for when the suspensions may be lifted, but said it will "make timely adjustments according to the epidemic prevention and control situation."

The CBA has been suspended since Jan. 24 because of the spread of COVID-19. The league is reportedly considering a proposal to bring all 20 teams to one or two cities and play the remainder of the regular season in empty arenas.

MLB extends pay for minor leaguers

Major League Baseball is extending its financial support to minor league players through May while suspending their contracts because of the new coronavirus pandemic.

MLB announced March 19 that it was giving minor leaguers $400 US weekly allowances through April 8, the day before the minor league season was scheduled to start. The commissioner's office said Tuesday that minor leaguers will continue to receive those allowances and health benefits through May 31 or the minor league opening day, whichever comes first.

Minor league contracts have a provision allowing them to be suspended "during any national emergency." MLB said Tuesday it had told the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body, that it was unable to supply players to minor league affiliates because of the emergency.

Major and minor league seasons are on hold due to the new coronavirus. Weekly minimum salaries on full-season minor league teams range from $290 at Class A to $502 at Triple-A over the five-month season, meaning many players are making more during this hiatus than they do in-season.

Olympic swimmer from Hungary has virus

Hungarian Olympic swimmer Boglarka Kapas says she has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 26-year-old Kapas writes in an Instagram post that she had to submit to testing in order to return to training. She says her first test was negative but a second test showed she has the virus. She is staying in quarantine at home for two weeks.

Kapas won a gold medal in the 200-metre butterfly at the 2019 world championships in China and bronze in the 800 freestyle at the 2016 Olympics in Rio

Bundesliga soccer games scrapped through April

The Bundesliga soccer season will remain suspended through April because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 36 clubs in Germany's top two divisions have agreed to accept the recommendation of the league authority to extend the period without games to April 30 at least. The last game played was on March 11.

Training for the 36 clubs is to remain stopped until April 5.

UEFA is to meet with its 55 members on Wednesday with the fate of the remaining Champions League, Europa League and international games to be discussed.

with files from Reuters and Field Level Media

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