At 19-46 and last place in the Eastern Conference, this NBA season doesn’t mean as much to Cleveland fans as say in 2016. However, for someone like LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, it means a lot as they compete for a playoff spot at 49-14 and in first place in the Western Conference.
The NBA suspended its season after games held on March 11 because the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid-19. The Coronavirus has turned into a pandemic since and it is now May 1.
Frankly, the idea of not having sports was unfathomable until this horrific virus plagued the world, killed innocent people and sickened many more. Sadly, it makes sense that sitting next to a buddy from work in an arena would not be safe. Players putting their bodies all over each other in an intense competition is even worse.
It’s not a debate on if the games should have been played, but instead when competition can or ultimately will resume this season. If at all.
Speculation is swirling, via LeBron James bringing it up, about the NBA and its season getting shut down for good. About 65 games (varies for each team) into 2019-20 and that’s a lot of basketball down the drain. Yes, it matters more for the aforementioned Lakers or Bucks; teams that are competing for a championship. However, even players on bad teams do not get to pile on the statistics. If they are to become a free agent after this season, they don’t get to showcase themselves anymore.
It is what it is…
The hardest part about this decision is that no one truly knows exactly what will happen in the upcoming future. Right now, there is no guarantee that every single player, fan and person involved in the production of a basketball game will stay healthy throughout the remainder of the season. That’s what everyone wants, but is it what will happen?
People are going to get angry if the season gets canceled. At the same time, there has to be an understanding that the league wants to avoid sickness and lives being lost. Only until that is a guarantee will this holdout have to continue. It’s not just basketball with baseball pushing back the start of its season, too.
Other ideas such as playing games without any fans have been thrown around. That would certainly make the risk a lot less because of simply a few people in the facility compared to thousands. What fun is playing basketball without the atmosphere of enthusiastic fans? Well, that’s for the league to decide.
Finally, it’s obvious that there is no way to play basketball, the games themselves, with a social distancing rule. The players will guard each other tightly as always. Thus, that is why it makes the most sense to wait until this is completely under control to resume the league. As strange as it sounds, it could save a life.