by Alex Poletti
Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo
With the United States in panic mode over the COVID-19 virus, NBA superstar LeBron James remains a hero in our midst. After publicly saying that he would not play in an empty arena out of concern for the spread of the virus, he took things to the next level by challenging the coronavirus to a one-on-one pick-up game.
“This virus thinks it’s so tough, huh?” the three-time NBA champ says. “It thinks it can take me out? Then let’s see what it can really do. Just me and the virus on the court. Loser leaves town. That’s a challenge.”
The coronavirus has spread to the United States in rapid fashion over the past few weeks, resulting in several states, including California, declaring a state of emergency. Due to the poor response from the national government in containing the disease, the seasons of sports leagues like the NBA are now in jeopardy.
“They say the US can’t handle the virus?” James questions. “Well I’ll show the virus my handles and we’ll see who comes out on top.”
Though the challenge was thought to just be James blowing smoke, he has gotten a surprise response from the virus itself. Showing bravado off the charts, the virus accepted the challenge of the greatest active player.
“I’m down if you are,” COVID-19 says. “You, me, Staples Center. If I lose, I’ll get out of LA. But bring the fans. Bring as many fans as you possibly can. And make them all sit in really close proximity.”
In preparation for the pick-up game, the Lakers hired some of the leading virologists, including Joseph Fair, to help the four-time MVP face a type of opponent he’s never encountered before.
“We’re definitely going to have to shift the strategy a bit,” Fair, who worked as an epidemiologist in Africa during the Ebola outbreak, explains to the Lakers forward. “If you continue to play the contact-heavy basketball that you’re used to, it could go very poorly for you.”
James’s actions have sparked a sense of confidence in Americans that didn’t exist before, with many tweeting their support for the basketball star in his matchup against the virus. This has inspired the United States government to reconsider how they are attacking the virus.
“We think this could be our most important tool for eradicating the coronavirus,” Vice President Mike Pence, who is fronting the coronavirus response at the national level, says. “That’s why we recommend each city select a star player to fight the virus one-on-one. With that, and a lot of prayer, we may be able to take this thing down.”
*This article is a work of satire. Though certain elements and quotes may be based on true events, this should not be taken as fact.