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Thunder-Jazz: Timeline of surreal night that stopped NBA

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Oklahoma City was the epicenter of a surreal night in sports history. The eventual postponement of the NBA due to the coronavirus pandemic unfolded in real time Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. 

Here’s a timeline of the events. 

Tuesday

4:56 p.m. 

The Jazz lands at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, according to information from FlightAware. 

The plane, a Delta 757-200, was then used to transport the Magic and Grizzlies, according to aviation reporter Ben Bearup. 

Wednesday

11:10 a.m. 

Del City boys basketball coach Lenny Hatchett tweets a picture of his son with Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell worked out at Del City's gym on Tuesday night, less than 48 hours before he tested positive for the coronavirus

5:53 p.m.

Thunder center Steven Adams is made available pregame in the interview room. It’s part of the new media policy as locker rooms are closed off. 

Adams is asked to imagine what it might be like to play an NBA game in an empty arena. 

“It’s kind of like if you’ve been to an abandoned town, right?” Adams said. “How you know that this once was a very lively place, and you expect it to be quite lively, and there’s just no one around. And so you kind of get that eerie kind of feel.” 

7:10 p.m. 

Pregame introductions are over and Thunder fans are on their feet for tip-off. 

It’s the typical scene. 

But then Donnie Strack, the Thunder’s vice president of human and player performance, forms a huddle with the three game officials: Pat Fraher, Mark Lindsay and Ben Taylor. Meanwhile, most Thunder players are jumping and staying loose on the sideline. 

Thunder point guard Chris Paul meets Jazz forward Joe Ingles at midcourt just in front of the scorer’s table. They talk for about 10 seconds before Paul heads back to the Thunder bench. 

7:11 p.m. 

Coaches Billy Donovan and Quin Snyder playfully bump elbows as they join the officials at midcourt. 

“What’s going on?” a fan shouts. 

7:14 p.m. 

Thunder and Jazz players leave the court and head back to their locker rooms, prompting loud boos from fans. The officials walk off the court two minutes later.

So far, no explanation has been given. 

7:18 to 7:36 p.m. 

Thunder entertainers do their best to fill the void. 

Rumble the Bison, OKC’s mascot, launches backward shots from halfcourt. A junior dance team performs. 

Frankie J, a singer who is scheduled to perform the halftime show, is brought out early. 

7:37 p.m. 

The public address announcer tells fans that the game has been postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.” 

Most fans head for the exits. Some stay in their seats, waiting for the traffic to subside. 

8:27 p.m. 

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. Gobert was not at the arena Wednesday night. 

8:32 p.m. 

The NBA announces a “player on the Utah Jazz” has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. The test result was reported just before tip-off. 

The season will be suspended until further notice, the league announces. 

9:22 p.m. 

The Jazz announces that the individual who tested positive is in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City. 

10:19 p.m. 

A Thunder spokesman confirms that Thunder players have gone home. Jazz players remain at the arena. 

10:26 p.m. 

The Oklahoma Department of Health tweets that fans in attendance Wednesday night “are not at risk.” 

11 p.m. 

Medical workers, some of which are in scrubs and masks, walk through the double doors and into the hallway outside the visitor’s locker room. They are carrying clipboards, cardboard boxes and plastic zipper bags. 

11:39 p.m. 

ESPN's Royce Young reports that nurses have finished testing Jazz players for coronavirus. 

Thursday

12:25 a.m. 

Reporters covering the Jazz are tested for coronavirus in the visitor’s locker room, according to the Salt Lake Tribune’s Andy Larsen. 

12:58 a.m. 

The media is told to leave the area by the players’ exit. 

1:14 a.m. 

The Jazz leave the arena on buses. It’s been more than six hours since the game was scheduled to tip-off. 

2:48 a.m. 

Young reports that the Jazz will be staying at a hotel in Oklahoma City overnight. Pending the test results, the team will make arrangements on how to best return to Salt Lake City. 

9:49 a.m. 

Mitchell tests positive for the coronavirus, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports. 

4:47 p.m. 

A charter flight carrying members of the Jazz lands in Salt Lake City, according to Wojnarowski. It is unclear if Gobert and Mitchell are on the flight. 

Related Photos
Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-22c43b83de72bd4eb858a8bbcb3f731e.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6586152f1ba8587d3861270ccf0c92f7.jpg" alt="Photo - Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder meets with Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan and officials before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder meets with Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan and officials before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder meets with Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan and officials before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-46fde198ff43e001ae5467d9c4d9be7a.jpg" alt="Photo - Thunder chairman Clay Bennett talks with Jay Scaramucci after an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Thunder chairman Clay Bennett talks with Jay Scaramucci after an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Thunder chairman Clay Bennett talks with Jay Scaramucci after an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9f2be01a1b01a5856db326e33a6b36f4.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave after an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave after an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave after an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c53dd556dbb55328942b9879078b1e21.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder fans wait for an announcement before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City Thunder fans wait for an announcement before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder fans wait for an announcement before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-22c43b83de72bd4eb858a8bbcb3f731e.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b4905de34b9f896f7472cb8e2127cb91.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder fans leave lafter an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3412578180f2d1e8fb0e043f7394b8b8.jpg" alt="Photo - Thunder chairman Clay Bennett talks with Gov. Kevin Stitt talk after an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Thunder chairman Clay Bennett talks with Gov. Kevin Stitt talk after an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Thunder chairman Clay Bennett talks with Gov. Kevin Stitt talk after an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d41f7b516dfc5b52baa831a27fccb7f3.jpg" alt="Photo - The Oklahoma City Thunder leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="The Oklahoma City Thunder leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>The Oklahoma City Thunder leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5ba236003635fa5b765ba853c435c3cf.jpg" alt="Photo - The Oklahoma City Thunder leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="The Oklahoma City Thunder leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>The Oklahoma City Thunder leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9654d087740543d19820d1087119b407.jpg" alt="Photo - Luguentz Dort (5), Mike Muscala and Abdel Nader (11), at left, leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Luguentz Dort (5), Mike Muscala and Abdel Nader (11), at left, leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Luguentz Dort (5), Mike Muscala and Abdel Nader (11), at left, leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1f8607fe4cc3fbfa3b2868ddb3bbb15a.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan, Mike Muscala, and Chris Paul leave the court with the rest of the team before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan, Mike Muscala, and Chris Paul leave the court with the rest of the team before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan, Mike Muscala, and Chris Paul leave the court with the rest of the team before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b9b47f1abdf504583487177712a103c2.jpg" alt="Photo - Officials leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Officials leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Officials leave the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-505fef704903be3de6235ed6971ebfee.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan walks towards the bench after meeting with officials before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan walks towards the bench after meeting with officials before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan walks towards the bench after meeting with officials before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-48e600be43e00a008e016a43e1326f88.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan meets with officials before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan meets with officials before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan meets with officials before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-11685ed12fac892a865927520eece7a2.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City players watch as officials meet before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City players watch as officials meet before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City players watch as officials meet before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-032100427d9899975420cfad61f3d4a3.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan talks with Chris Paul as the team leaves the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan talks with Chris Paul as the team leaves the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan talks with Chris Paul as the team leaves the court before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz was postponed at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-14fb2ebee08fea634e2dc579913adb6b.jpg" alt="Photo - A worker cleans the Oklahoma City Thunder bench seats before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="A worker cleans the Oklahoma City Thunder bench seats before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>A worker cleans the Oklahoma City Thunder bench seats before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-04fb2f34b6a7fea12217638d9f85432a.jpg" alt="Photo - A sign inside an elevator that lists ways to help decrease the risk of exposure and spread of the coronavirus is seen before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="A sign inside an elevator that lists ways to help decrease the risk of exposure and spread of the coronavirus is seen before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>A sign inside an elevator that lists ways to help decrease the risk of exposure and spread of the coronavirus is seen before an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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