This is a basketball blog, but with the Knicks out of the bubble, and looking at the draft and next season, there is an opportunity to look at the landscape and appreciate the possession we’re in.
First would be to say with all this losing, the Knick fan base is either in perpetual PTSD or hardened insane basketball fans enjoying the up and down (mostly down) for the past twenty years. With certainty we would all welcome winning than losing in the future, all that losing does tailor your mind for moments like this. Things are rarely as good as they seem and it allows for a more somber look at things most view as purely positive. There’s been so much positive coverage of the bubble and the teams finishing the season that there’s a potential to miss the very serious risks with the proposal.
While we would all love for things to return to normal and get back to the distractions of sport, there’s a growing group of vocal players and team officials dissenting the NBA return. Some of it is about the growing unrest and calls for action in transforming the police and reinvesting in the community to help over-policed peoples. Another group is worried about the spread of the novel coronavirus and there’s likely overlap of both groups that share concerns from both camps.
Normally when there is something as inexcusable, inhumane, and immoral as a police state killing black people would be the entire focus; however, the NBA is tied with many around the world for taking COVID-19 seriously.
The plan as it stands gives the movement for racial justice a month and a half before any games start, but will enough change happen to allow for that distractions?
Will black players feel like playing for a supermajority of white owners in an isolated space for potentially three months?
Do they want to be away from their family for that long or do they even want them taking that risk with COVID looming large?
For the 22 teams that are going to be participating in finishing the season and postseason in Orlando, they’ll have a lot on their mind. As Knicks fans, we should be glad that our season is over if for no other reason to allow our players, staff, and coaches to process this moment devoid of work. They can be together with their families in these turbulent times and most importantly be safe. Humans by nature are very short-sighted in our nature, most life is. The short term gains of playing through the regular season and playoffs could be massively outpaced by potential fallout from COVID-19.
While players are in typically excellent shape, there are staff and coaches with massive levels of range in health, age, and underlying conditions (comorbidities). Without getting too into the weeds, death 1,000 relating to COVID happened on March 26th.
As of June 16th, Johns Hopkins has the number dead at 113,000, which is 112,000 people dying in under three months. If the pace continues, the US is going to lose more lives in three months than we lost in World War I.
Players will be relatively safe but they could be pathways for the virus to jump to those more sensitive to the virus. Those around the players, the team we often don’t see could be at risk and not only them but their families, players likewise. It only takes a few degrees of separation to start seeing every single player can have people around them who would have bad outcomes from exposure to the virus.
While it would never be their fault, a human being can hardly shake away the reality of the human cost to finish this season.
While we didn’t get invited to the bubble to limit vectors of viral spread, Knicks are actually winners in this situation.
Them and the other seven teams not going won in the sense that they do not have to be weighing the risk of human life in hopes of completing the seasons content.
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