LAS VEGAS — An earthquake that struck Southern California forced the postponement of the late games in the Las Vegas Summer League on Friday night, including the NBA debuts for No. 1 pick Zion Williamson of New Orleans and No. 3 pick RJ Barrett of New York.
Estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey say a 6.9 magnitude quake hit in Southern California at 8:19 p.m. PT. The quake was felt all the way in Las Vegas during the fourth quarter of the Pelicans–Knicks game inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
The overhead scoreboard in the arena was swaying, and officials elected to delay the game and have the teams leave the floor while gauging if it was safe to continue. After about a 15-minute delay, the decision was made to suspend the game. The NBA says it is working to determine if the game will continue Saturday.
“I was bringing the ball up, it felt like someone was pushing my hip, like I kind of leaned this way, and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what is going on?'” New Orleans guard Frank Jackson said. “And then I just saw everything shaking.”
A game between the Orlando Magic and the San Antonio Spurs inside the smaller Cox Pavilion, which is attached to the Thomas & Mack Center, initially continued without delay because that gym lacks an overhead scoreboard. The league ultimately decided to cancel that game after the third period, however, for “precautionary reasons.”
“Safety comes first, second, third,” NBA Summer League executive director Warren LeGarie said.
Friday night’s quake was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest, California, a Mojave Desert town 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Los Angeles. The same area was jolted by a 6.4 quake a day earlier.
Friday’s quake was felt in downtown Los Angeles as a rolling motion that seemed to last at least a half-minute. It hit Dodger Stadium in the fourth inning when Dodgers second baseman Enrique Hernandez was batting. It didn’t appear to affect him or Padres pitcher Eric Lauer, and the game continued without disruption.
However, it was obvious to viewers of the SportsNet LA broadcast when the TV picture bounced up and down.
There was no announcement by the stadium’s public address announcer. Some fans in the upper deck appeared to leave their seats and move to a concourse at the top of the stadium. The press box lurched for about 20 seconds.
A WNBA game between the Mystics and Aces at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas was suspended at halftime because of the quake.
“This is the first time this has ever happened to me, the first time I’ve ever experienced that, even in a basketball game,” said New Orleans’ Christian Wood, who played college ball at UNLV. “It’s funny, guys didn’t know what was going on. Some guys were still playing on the court. But it was a good chance to go out there and see guys — guys had a good opportunity to play. It was fun.
“I’ve been a part of earthquakes, but nothing while playing basketball,” Wood said. “It was cool, but I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.