Updated: Mar 5
How is the NBA continuing operations amidst season hiatus?
The world of sports has been in an absolute frenzy ever since March 11th when the NBA decided to suspend its season following the announcement of Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19. Originally only suspending the season for 30 days, things have quickly changed, as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver now has no idea when play will restart. Because of the monstrous escalation of the disease, people all over the world have been left in new and uncertain circumstances. Silver admits that he knows less about the coronavirus situation now than he did when he first suspended the season. Although some speculate that the earliest a conversation can be held is May 1st, when asked about the finishing the season, Sports Business Daily states that Silver responded, “What that means in terms of our ability to come back at some point in late spring or summer is still unknown to me.” Across the globe, the Chinese Basketball Association has already postponed its calendar until at least July 1st. Since the NBA has two league offices in China and employees there have been working from home since December, it is likely that the NBA is paying close attention to those colleagues and taking their advice about health and safety concerning the league and its fans. Bottom line, there is currently no definite plan about when the NBA will resume play.
However, that does not mean that they are not still extremely active. Even though no live games are taking place, the NBA is still one of the most influential sports leagues in the United States and across the world. Especially because they were the first American league to suspend play, the other leagues have been looking to them for advice and as a role model. Numerous athletes have been stepping forward and showing their support for weeks now. Social media such as Instagram and Twitter have been major platforms used to stay engaged with fans. The players understand the influence they have on others and they want to use that for the good. They feel a responsibility to promote positivity and joy during times when many are full of anxiety.
The NBA highlights some athletes who have videos at the bottom of their website spreading awareness about COVID-19 and encouraging people to wash their hands, practice social distancing, and ultimately, to stay at home. Further, Stephen Curry has FaceTimed nurses in Oakland, CA giving them his love and encouragement, while thanking them for their sacrifice and hard work during this time. Also, Kevin Love is one of many who have donated large amounts of money to the workers in their hometown arenas. However, it is not completely surprising that NBA players are so generous with their donations and charity right now. NBA Cares formed in 2005 and actually requires players to participate in a minimum amount of community service each season.
In the same way that the NBA was the first to suspend its season, they are also looking to be the first to resume play. As mentioned earlier, there is no set date that operations would begin again, but there is a proposal for athletes to begin getting back in game shape. The proposal consists of a 25-day plan, where the first 11 days would have individual athletes working out at facilities, practicing social distancing, but also being able to increase the intensity of their workouts compared to what they may be doing at home. Then, if medical staff clears that athlete, they would attend a two-week team camp with the other players and staff. The reason this plan is vital is because players are unable to properly train under quarantine. In order to decrease susceptibility to injury, the players need the correct workouts and equipment to build up strength before going back to the court.
Finally, would it really be that bad if the NBA did not finish the 2020 season? The league has suffered some traumatic events this year and it is almost as if the world knew they needed a break. With the deaths of Kobe Bryant and David Stern, much of the league is still in mourning. Further, notable players such as Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant are recovering from injuries. If the playoffs did occur, there would be potential for Lebron James’ fourth championship title and Zion Williamson may be able to finish his rookie season in good fashion.
Despite all the madness, it is comforting to know that everyone is fighting the same fight. In Kevin Love’s words, “It’s a common enemy. It’s a sense of being united. Nothing unites us like a common enemy."