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Toronto Raptors players warned not to high-five fans because of coronavirus

The Toronto Raptors have been advised to avoid physical contact with fans, such as high-fiving, in the midst of novel coronavirus fears.

The NBA recently issued a statement to all of its teams that included a number of recommendations for players as the illness approaches pandemic proportions.

In the short-term, NBA officials suggested that athletes switch from the common high-five to a fist bump when greeting fans, and avoid taking fans' personal belongings — such as balls and jerseys — to autograph.

Players have also been instructed to use their own pens when signing, according to ESPN, which first obtained the documents.

The association, which has apparently been in touch with various communicable disease experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is also looking at overall strategies as the virus continues to spread across the globe.

Things like scouting events, pre-draft processes and on-site workouts will likely be affected, and the NBA indicated in the memo that overseas activities could be cut back or even completely cancelled depending on future COVID-19 outbreaks.

Some players are already taking precautions, vowing to bring their own marker for autographs or even to stop signing autographs altogether.

"It's getting serious, I'll tell you that much" Boston Celtics player Kemba Walker said of coronavirus at a media scrum. "Everyone just needs to be a little cautious." Coach Brad Stevens added that a doctor came in-person to meet with his team and explain the facts of the virus.

At least one player has already adopted the NBA-approved fist bump greeting: the New York Knicks' Bobby Portis was heard simply saying "corona" to fans as he offered them his fist after a recent game.

Lead photo by

Toronto Raptors


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