Joe Ingles Planning to ‘Walk Away’ from NBA if Season Resumes
Dec 17, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (2) dribbles up the court during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
The COVID-19 pandemic has put all sports on pause, but there is a growing sense that the NBA could return soon, with target locations including Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, Nev.
However, not all players are on board with the NBA’s plan to relocate and resume the season on short notice.
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles’s stance may be the strongest of them all. The 32-year-old Australian says he is prepared to quit the NBA and return to Australia for the rest of his life.
Ingles does not want to put his family at risk. His son, Jacob, is a toddler with autism, while he also has a young daughter and wife to look out for. Although he wants to return to the court, he’s prepared to leave the NBA for good.
“If you had to tell me that you could never play again to protect Jacob from this, I would walk away, fly to Australia and never play another game in my life and be very content with it,” Ingles told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I could walk out of this gym now, in the clothes I’m in, and go to the airport. I would have zero issues because I wouldn’t want to put my family through that. I don’t want to put Jacob through that. I don’t want to put his sister through that, and I definitely don’t want to put his mother through that.”
Australia has 7,079 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 100 citizens have died, 6,444 have recovered, and 535 remain contageous.
In comparison, Utah has been hit with 7,518 cases, including 4,275 recoveries and 88 deaths.
Ingles and the Jazz are quite familar with the coronavirus, of course. Rudy Gobert’s positive test kicked off a period of fear and isolation that has already lasted two months. Days later, teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive, too. This has surely been a scary time for Ingles, who loves basketball but loves his family even more.
“I would love to go back and play,” Ingles said in the chat with Amick. “There’s a million reasons why I want to play. But the one reason—I love Jacob—to not play is the one that I would stick by.”
Time will tell whether or not the season returns and Ingles leaves the United States or not, but with Adam Silver’s apparent urgency to bring basketball back, we could see more backlash and opposition from other players soon.