Corona Virus in the NBA — A New Patient Zero

  • 2 Players from the Utah Jazz
  • 2 Players from Detroit Pistons
  • 1 Player from Boston Celtics
  • 4 Players from the Brooklyn Nets
  • 2 Players from the LA Lakers
  • 1 Member of Denver Nuggets
  • 3 Members of Philadelphia 76ers
  • 1 Member (owner) of the New York Knicks
  1. This single chart contains a path to every infection. That’s interesting in that there are 30 teams in the NBA with 8 announcing positive tests. This chart has 18 teams on it and none of the other 12 teams have had a single member announce a positive result. I haven’t figured out the odds of that happening, but with help from the back of an envelope I came up with around 13%. Martin, what is it really? :) Of course, if none of the other teams have been tested and only teams that have played other infected teams are tested the odds are 100%.
  2. The Nets vs. Celtics game was the original ground zero for corona transmission in the NBA. The Nets have more players with positive diagnosis than anyone (with four) and the Celtics only have one, so there’s some argument that this all started with the Nets and one of their players was patient zero for corona in the NBA. Particularly given the horrible state of affairs in NY right now, seems reasonable that cases were ramping up early March. (Full disclosure: I’m a Warriors fan but I’m doing my best to not let that color the analysis.)
  3. Jazz players were the first to announce positive tests on March 11 followed by the Celtics on March 19. If the Celtics player was infected during the Nets game (March 3), he was asymptomatic for at least a week as he played a full game on March 10th.
  4. The Nuggets (there was no announcement about who on the team is infected) never played a team with announced infected players. They did play the Cavaliers who played the infected Celtics, but no one on the Cavaliers has tested positive. So the transmission path to the Nuggets may have been outside NBA games.
  5. After the Celtics, the Nets played the Grizzlies, Spurs and Bulls none of which have announced positive tests, nor do we even know whether the players were tested. The fact that there is no infection among these teams seems really lucky: If the virus was already active during the March 3 Celtics game, you would think that it would have been getting more contagious after that. So that’s a puzzler. Back in mid March, tests were slow and hard to come by so people with mild symptoms may not have been tested. Certainly would be interesting to know if these teams were tested.
  6. The fact that Jason Collins believes he contracted the virus while attending the Nets Grizzlies game gives more weight to the Nets as ground zero theory.




Entrepreneur, investor, advisor. CEO of gig-economy company Speechpad. Early stage investments include Tesla, Canva, Ring, Android, Cepheid, CloudCar, Passport

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Konstantin Othmer

Konstantin Othmer

Entrepreneur, investor, advisor. CEO of gig-economy company Speechpad. Early stage investments include Tesla, Canva, Ring, Android, Cepheid, CloudCar, Passport

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