As we all know, COVID-19 has ravaged our entire way of life. On March 11, we in the U.S. got a firsthand look at it breaking into our lives as the first positive test in the NBA was revealed. Rudy Gobert of the Jazz was that patient zero, and with that set in motion one of the craziest ends of a sports season ever in recorded history. There were no crazy plays to be made, there were no screaming fans to cheer or jeer at the teams playing below, but only the cold sound of squeaking feet across the hardwood courts. As the United States finally woke up to the rampaging pandemic that had swept across the world, so too did the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who immediately shut down the entire league and suspended the season that night. This was unheard of and shocked both athletes and fans alike, leaving them both confused and concerned. They would not hold another game until nearly four and a half months later on July 30.
As that fateful day came, the players and coaches all kept themselves ready: ready to come back at any point in time that Commissioner Silver and the NBA Board of Directors felt ready to do so. Players like LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and so many others all continued to workout in hopes of playing again. As the negotiations came with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the date was finally worked out to have a play-in tournament at Walt Disney World under a “bubble.” This was a risky move, as other leagues like the MLS and the NHL took that approach as well, to a very successful extent. As the games were played on July 30 into August, the bubble was a resounding success. Besides a few hiccups here and there, the NBA never had a significant outbreak during the bubble in Walt Disney World. However, there was a massive problem. Even if it did work so well for the time, it cost a fortune to just do once. The problem also extended to local broadcasting deals and the extreme loss of revenue from not only a lack of fans but those broadcasting deals as well, with possibility of outbreaks canceling games and so forth. Now looking ahead, the bubble did work, and the season finished with a champion in the Lakers. Though, for the 2020–21 season, the unknown is still clearly there. Will there even be an NBA season that will last? With the already postponed Tokyo Olympics also looming for next summer, the NBA is in a massive crunch to figure out the season for this year.
As of a few days ago, the NBPA approved the NBA’s proposal for a Dec. 22 start of play. However, with this comes a lot of questions that must be answered, and soon. Will there be testing for players? Will there be limited or no fans in certain stadiums or will there be a bubble again, but by division? There are so, so many questions that have yet to be answered in regards to this upcoming basketball season, but in time, we all will see where Commissioner Silver wants to move forward to next. COVID-19 is an unfortunate plague upon our love of sports and our lives, and hopefully the NBA can finally return to a “somewhat” normal as players begin to debate the Dec. 22 date of return.
Jeff Babcock is a fourth-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. email@example.com