The games go on, as they always do. But from the courts in Australia to the stands in Alabama, athletes and fans are thinking about something besides sports.
"I think the major concern is whether we have a war or not. That's what I'm concerned with," San Antonio Spurs star David Robinson, a Navy lieutenant, said near the midnight deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait.Robinson, who scored 26 points in the Spurs' 124-102 loss in Utah Tuesday night, could be called to duty in the Persian Gulf.
"If I have to serve, I'll serve and go eagerly," he said. "I don't consider myself any different than anyone else."
Professional soccer player Waad Hirmez, 29, came to the United States from his native Iraq in August 1979 and became a U.S. citizen in March 1986. The San Diego Sockers midfielder said Tuesday night he is worried about the possibility of a U.S. war with Iraq.
"Although my mother lives with me in San Diego, I still have two aunts, an uncle and four cousins living in Baghdad," he said. "My parents' home is only a mile from Saddam (Hussein's) palace, and if anything happens, it will be gone.
"Everyone there is not a terrorist," Hirmez said. "Most are just normal people. I was hoping that someday I could take my wife and kids to Baghdad and show them the place where I was born. But now I don't know if I'll ever see it again.
"I thank God I am here, but I'm afraid for the people in the country where I was born. It's a terrible fear. There can be no victory for me. I pray for peace."
The Middle East crisis was on the minds of many at NBA, NHL and college basketball games Tuesday night, where moments of silence were observed before the national anthem. But there were no plans to cancel any games in the United States.
The NFL has no plans to postpone Sunday's conference championship games or the Super Bowl on Jan. 27.
"The NFL is planning to complete the remaining post-season games as scheduled," spokesman Greg Aiello said. "If events during the next three weeks lead us to re-evaluate our plans, we will make an announcement to that effect at that time."
NFL players, though, will continue to wear American flag emblems on their helmets in a show of support.
At the Salt Palace in Utah, the Jazz passed out American flags to the fans. Before the game, the public address announcer said, "Let us pause and pay honor to our armed forces serving in the Persian Gulf."
Ed Reynolds, a linebacker with the New England Patriots, is a member of a reserve unit in Salem, Va., and could be called for duty.
"I think they should cancel all of professional sports out of respect for the soldiers fighting. Why should we be over here having fun and playing games when they're over there fighting?" said Joni Powell, an Indiana Pacers Pacemate cheerleader.
But Ray Willman, 72, of Everett, Wash., disagreed. Before the Denver-SuperSonics game, he said it would be an overreaction to cancel sporting events if war started.
Willman, who served in the South Pacific in World War II, said he didn't think postponing games would make servicemen feel better.
"When I was overseas, games of any kind were the last thing on my mind," he said.