The NBA released its schedule of resuming the season on Friday, 6/25 after months of no basketball.
The league suspended play in March after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, and from there, other leagues in sports followed suit. You name it. The NCAA, Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, PGA, and the XFL.
The schedule generated excitement for basketball fans and sports fans in general. Everyone looked at their calendar to revolve their schedule around the games. It showed we are closely getting back to normal. From all accounts, the players seem ready to play.
But there could be a problem in the way. The never-ending coronavirus spiked up in recent days in the South, and now certain places in Florida and Texas are starting to shut down. Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed concern that the next two weeks is critical whether or not the coronavirus shuts everything down.
Talk about throwing cold water on someone’s face.
There’s a good chance we could see sports be shut down before it even resumed. Already, NBA players such as Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, Sacramento Kings forward Jabari Parker, Kings guard Buddy Hield and Kings center Alex Len tested positive for coronavirus. Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews also had to be quarantined after he tested positive.
Grand Canyon’s men’s college basketball team has been quarantined after four players and two support staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson withdrew from the PGA’s Travelers Championship this week after several caddies were diagnosed with coronavirus. Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon became the first Major League Baseball player to be tested positive for coronavirus.
This comes after teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies shut down their minor league operations in Florida after several of their players tested positive for coronavirus. The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning temporarily closed down their facility after several of their players tested positive.
Yes, coronavirus never disappeared despite our wishes. President Donald Trump can deny all he wants and put it behind him, but the invisible enemy has yet to be defeated. Now, it could threaten everything since people refused to wear a mask and social distance.
That’s a scary thought for the players and coaches to be in a position they’re in.
Silver needs to be proactive and move the games from Wide World of Sports in Orlando to the arenas located in the New York-New Jersey area. Barclays Center, Prudential Center and Madison Square Garden provide the perfect venue for games to be played as New York and New Jersey seem to flatten the curve.
The league knows it can’t sell the players to go play with the coronavirus spiking up in Florida. The players should not be at risk to play these games there, so an alternative must happen. There has to be a Plan B or else this season might as well be a waste.
It might as well end up that way with the way things are looking. No doubt the NBA and other professional sports leagues are taking see no evil, hear no evil approach. The last thing commissioners of their respective leagues want to tell fans that there won’t be a season for any sport. Right now, sounding good sounds better than telling the cold hard truth. Make no mistake, though. The commissioners know they can’t keep this charade going. Hard decisions should be made.
This should be a no-brainer to move the games out of Florida one way or another. It does not make sense. New York and New Jersey are ready for business, and both can survive this, unlike other cities that are dealing with the spike. Maybe the league can get by.
The NBA players are smarter than we give credit for. They know they are not going to risk their health and be in a no-win situation. The league knows better, too. It wouldn’t be surprising if the league moves the games up north when all is said and done. It could be the last chance for these games and the playoffs to happen this season.
The NBA plans to get the revenue money from its network partners in the playoffs, so Silver and owners will do their part to make all of this work. They did not waste this regular season just to have no playoffs, so if the league plans to move the games, that scenario could happen.
It makes sense the games take place in New York and New Jersey. It would appeal to the players so much more than playing at a hot spot. There could be plenty of things for players and coaches to do with the idea they won’t have coronavirus.
Of course, the coronavirus could make all of this moot there just like it plans to do in Florida.
The invisible enemy showed it has a mind of its own, and it shows no empathy or compassion or sympathy.
Featured Image: Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports