March 20, 2020 / 1:11 AM / in 2 months

Celtics' Smart, other players test positive for COVID-19

FILE PHOTO - An NBA logo is seen on the facade of its flagship store at the Wangfujing shopping street in Beijing, China October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

(Reuters) - Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, three members of the Philadelphia 76ers organization and two Los Angeles Lakers players have tested positive for COVID-19, Smart and the teams announced on Thursday.

The NBA suspended its season last week after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to receive a positive test and several others have come forward since to say they too had the virus, including two-time champion Kevin Durant.

In all, more than a dozen people playing with or working for NBA teams have tested positive so far.

“I’m okay, I feel fine. I don’t feel any of the symptoms,” Smart said in a video he posted online.

“I can’t stress enough practicing social distancing and keeping yourself away from a large group of people. Wash your hands. Help protect yourself. Protect others by protecting yourself.”

The NBA has been criticized this week for being entitled to celebrity privilege with players and officials able to get tested while others in the United States, including health care professionals, have been unable due to test shortages.

However, several teams made a point in their press releases to say they procured their tests privately and did not drain public resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Sam Holmes

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