Kevin Durant came out and said he has tested positive for COVID-19. But the federal government has cited the Brooklyn Nets star by name as a key to helping fight the coronavirus pandemic.

United States Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams called on influencers like Durant, Kylie Jenner and Donovan Mitchell to stress the gravity of coronavirus in hopes of getting their followers to act appropriately.

“I have a 15- and a 14-year-old, and the more I tell them not to do something, the more they want to do it,” Dr. Adams said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.” “What I really think we need to do – and you and I talked about this earlier this week – was get our influencers, Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell.

“We need to get Kylie Jenner, we need to get our social media influencers out there and helping folks understand that, look, this is serious. This is absolutely serious. People are dying.”

As of Thursday morning, well over 9,000 people worldwide had died of the pandemic, with more than 230,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Seven NBA players are among those who have tested positive. Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert was the first, followed by teammate Mitchell, a native New Yorker.

Then four Nets tested positive on Tuesday, with Durant among them. And while the superstar forward won’t hit a shot or score a point this season – rehabbing from a ruptured Achilles suffered last June – his biggest assist might not have come in the NBA Finals, but the fight against coronavirus.

Durant has 11.8 million followers on Instagram, and Dr. Adams was pleading with him – along with other influencers – to use their sway to convince younger generations to practice social distancing and other suggested protocols, both for their sakes and those of more vulnerable groups.

“We are seeing new data emerging from Italy that suggests young people may be at greater risk than we previously thought,” Dr. Adams said on GMA. “Think about your grandmother. Think about your grandfather. Think about the fact that you’re spreading disease that could ultimately be what kills them.”

Jenner – who has a staggering 166 million Instagram followers – implored them to practice social distancing. And Mitchell – who was born in Elmsford and whose father is an executive for the Mets – urged his three million followers to behave responsibly.

“We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them,” Mitchell wrote last week.


Both the Nets and NBA responded to blowback Brooklyn got for having their players tested for coronavirus. And NBC News reported that the team used a commercial lab in suburban Kansas City.

The test, developed by Viracor Eurofins of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was made available to private clients Friday, the company said on Twitter. The Nets were tested the next day.


YES Network started re-airing classic Nets games.

On Thursday, it will show their first win of the season, a 113-109 victory over the rival Knicks. On Friday, the network will show Kyrie Irving’s 54-point masterclass to beat the Bulls 133-118.