The 2019-2020 NBA season is scheduled to make its long awaited return on July 31. As we creep closer to that date, the league continues to be divided on whether they’d like to return or not. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the fight for Black lives, many players are suggesting they scrap the season. If the show must go on, will it even be worth it?
Players like KyrieIrving, DwightHoward, and AveryBradley have voiced their concerns and desire to cancel the season. They’ve held conference calls with fellow NBA players who stand with them, many of which are likely still unnamed. NBA stars like LeBronJames stand on the other side of the fence, and are in favor of finishing out the season.
So why not finish the season? The NBA plans to play out remaining games at DisneyWorld, where they plan to establish a “bubble” to avoid coronavirus infections. Players are uncertain if the NBA will even be able to enforce this bubble, even with daily testing for the virus. Others don’t want to be restricted by a bubble.
The more pressing matter seems to be the fact that an NBA return may distract from the BlackLivesMatter movement we are witnessing. According toThe Athletic, LeBronJames “believes playing in Orlando won’t deter his ability to continue inspiring change,” but even some of his teammates disagree. Many players believe that now is not the time for basketball, and that players should use this as an opportunity to shift the country’s full attention to the cause.
The NBA has announced that players will not face punishment if they choose to sit out this season, but they will not receive pay if they do so.
The NBA and commissioner AdamSilver must take action to unify the league on their plan of return. Perhaps nationally televised games can serve as a platform to spread awareness and encourage change. A portion of the proceeds could go to organizations fighting against police brutality and systemic racism.
Whatever solution they deem fit, they need to come up with it fast or they risk playing out a season without many of the league’s stars. At that point, a return may not even be worth it and will forever have an asterisk beside it.