Taking to social media this afternoon, Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook announced that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and did not travel with his teammates to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
“I tested positive for COVID-19 prior to my team’s departure to Orlando. I’m currently feeling well, quarantined and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared,” he wrote. “Thank you for all the well wishes and continued support. Please take this virus seriously. Be safe. Mask up!”
After being suspended on March 11 as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to ramp up in the United States, the NBA season is set to resume on July 30. Several players in the league, including Thabo Sefolosha of the Rockets, have opted out of the season restart, citing concerns over the virus.
In addition to Westbrook, Rockets players James Harden and Luc Mbah a Moute also did not travel with the team. On Sunday, Coach Mike D’Antoni said he had hoped the trio would arrive at the NBA bubble within three to four days. Upon arrival, the players will have to quarantine in their rooms for 48 hours before joining their teammates at practice.
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The 2019-2020 season has been Westbrook’s first with the Rockets, following a longterm stint on the Oklahoma City Thunder. As a Rocket, the star has so far averaged 27.5 points, seven assists and eight rebounds.
A Jordan Brand athlete, Westbrook has his “Why Not?” line with the brand. His most recent shoe is the Jordan Why Not? Zer0.3, a tech-loaded performance basketball sneaker with eye-catching aesthetics. The shoes’ bold look is as fans would expect of Westbrook, as he has become known for his flashy off-court fashion — including his pre-game looks.
However, when the NBA returns, the arena tunnels may no longer function as a mock runway for the nine-time All-Star. According to an ESPN report, a new protocol may require athletes to arrive to games in uniform. Some have suggested that players could instead make fashion statements through face masks, potentially even writing out social justice messages of their own. Athletes’ jerseys will also look a little different in the return — as players are able to select a social justice message to replace their last names on their backs.