At first, it seemed like nothing, but then the NBA season was suddenly on the brink.
The NBA announced on March 11, 2020 that they would be suspending their current season indefinitely. This came amid confirmation that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel Coronavirus. Fans, players and executives were all anxious for this crisis to blow over not only in hopes of avoiding a national catastrophe, but to get their normal lives back in order.
Now, those hopes seem slim, at best.
NBA Season on the Brink
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the league is “angling” to cancel the rest of the season entirely. With the recent news in the media, this comes as a shock to the nation.
As recently as a week ago, there were reports that executives were planning on potentially re-starting the NBA season in late June/early July. This shortened regular season and a playoffs would run through the summer. That optimism has since waned, and they’re now preparing for the worst case scenario.
It’s obvious this crisis is bigger than basketball. However, if the league plans to go through with this cancellation, there’s a multitude of ramifications to consider.
First, this was expected to be a highly competitive NBA Playoffs. While three teams (Lakers, Clippers, Bucks) were considered the heavy favorites, the middle of the pack was high contested. And there was sure to be some playoff surprises in the early rounds.
Teams such as the Clippers made “win-now” moves. And the Bucks are trying to make their mark while they still have the chance. For a team like the Lakers, they can ill-afford to waste a year of LeBron James prime years.
Impact of Canceling NBA Season
For the players, not playing has an obvious impact on their lives. It changes their daily routines, and leaves them in limbo. They can’t travel with their teams or work out with their trainers.
Another factor to consider is their salaries. With the NBA announcing that if the season was cancelled, the players would have their remaining salaries put into an escrow. This is a growing concern amongst players.
And finally, hope. We look to sports as an escape. And in a time of need, that escape has been taken away from us.
The return of the NBA season has been a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel of sorts for fans everywhere. If the NBA extinguishes that light, they’re not only taking opportunities from current players, they’re taking hope away from fans.
In times like this, that can be detrimental, and dangerous. While I’m not arguing against this possibility, I’m just hoping that it doesn’t come to fruition for the sake of everyone involved.