Forty-eight players test positive for COVID-19 as league gears up for new season

VIDEO SHOWS: FILE FOOTAGE OF NBA ALL-STAR GAME CAPTAINS LEBRON JAMES AND GIANNIS ANTETOKUONMPO ON COURT WITH TEAMMATES FOR PRACTICE SESSION

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

SHOWS: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES (FILE - FEBRUARY 15, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. TEAM CAPTAIN LEBRON JAMES TAKING SHOT DURING ALL-STAR PRACTICE SESSION

2. PLAYER LUKA DONCIC TAKING SHOT

3. TEAM LEBRON PLAYERS BEN SIMMONS, RUSSELL WESTBROOK, AND NIKOLA JOKIC TAKING SHOTS

4. LEBRON ON COURT WITH TEAMMATES DONCIC, CHRIS PAUL, KAWHI LEONARD, AND DOMANTIS SABONIS

5. TEAM CAPTAIN, GIANNIS ANTETOKUONMPO, ON COURT

6. TEAM GIANNIS PLAYER PASCAL SIAKAM TAKING SHOT

7. TEAM GIANNIS PLAYERS JOEL EMBIID, DONOVAN MITCHELL, AND TRAE YOUNG ON COURT

8. TEAM GIANNIS DRILL AND EMBIID SHOOTING LAYUP

9. TEAM GIANNIS PLAYER RUDY GOBERT TAKING SHOT

10. SABONIS MAKING LONG LEFT HANDED SHOT

GIANNIS ON COURT WITH KIDS AND TEAMMATES

11. SIAKAM WITH KIDS

12. GIANNIS ON COURT AFTER PRACTICE SESSION

STORY: Forty-eight NBA players tested positive for COVID-19, the league said on Wednesday (December 2), as players returned to their team's home markets for the start of the 2020-21 season on December 22.

The NBA said it tested 546 players as part of its "initial return-to-market testing phase," which kicked off between November 24 and November 30. Anyone who tested positive was placed in isolation until cleared under league rules.

The league had few issues keeping its "bubble" environment at Walt Disney World free of the novel coronavirus as it carried out the end of their delayed season earlier this year, but now faces many of the same challenges other North American leagues have playing in the COVID-19 era.

With the exception of the Toronto Raptors, teams will play in their home markets this season, with individual player workouts starting this week and group workouts beginning Sunday.

The Raptors, the only Canadian team in the league, will start their season in Tampa, Florida, due to tight international travel restrictions, as COVID-19 cases soar in the United States, where hospitalizations hit a record for a fourth consecutive day on Tuesday.

The NFL, which is currently playing, and MLB, which wrapped its truncated, delayed season with the World Series in October, both grappled with numerous game postponements and COVID-19 positives, as players traveled from city to city to compete in a sports landscape thoroughly upended by the pandemic.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)