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The NBA is Back

With the pandemic and protests breaking out around the country, these have certainly been turbulent times. Many sports organizations, including the NBA have been put on pause in the name of safety. Civic unrest and uncertainty are running rampant for good reason. In spite of all this, the world we know is trying to formulate a new normal. To that end, Adam Silver and the NBA have been working hard to bring the season back in a safe way. As of Thursday, the League’s board of governors approved a sustainable plan to do so.

Here’s the News

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the NBA was back. League officials met to target a July 31 return date. The format would be to invite 22 teams to Orlando, where the remainder of the season will play out. The 22 teams will be comprised of the top 13 teams from the Western Conference and the top nine from the East. Each team will have eight regular season games to solidify an spot in the top seeds. From there, there will likely be a sort of playoffs, however the exact details of the post season haven’t been released yet. In all likelihood, it will follow the same format as the remainder of the season and allow for playoff teams to safely compete in Orlando.

The COVID Context

Obviously, safety concerns have not been erased. COVID-19 still exists, and there is still no vaccine. Moreover, the country is still in a state of outrage regarding the murder of George Floyd, further exasperating a fear of an increased spread due to an uptake in protests. With that being said, it’ll be unlikely that fans will be able to be physically present at the arena. Of course, that won’t stop the remaining games from being televised, allowing fans to still support their favorite teams. A similar strategy may be applied to media, aside from essential personnel and coaching staff.

The exact guidelines for player interactions have yet to be outlined as well.  In all likelihood, players won’t be required to wear a mask. Thus, it stands to ask what safety precautions will there be for players? Additionally, in the event of a second wave, will the NBA still continue their plans?

A New Normal

It’s hard to determine what our brave new world will look like post-pandemic. Yet, that hasn’t stopped the NBA for taking steps towards the future. According to Woj, the NBA is also pushing forward with the draft, with the lottery to take place on August 25 and the draft to take place on October 15.  If all goes well, this will be a successful trial run on how the NBA will continue.

The hope is that one day soon, fans will be reintegrated into their teams’ respective arenas. However, with the varying state responses to the pandemic, it will be difficult to set a singular guideline for how to host visiting teams. Thus, even with Commissioner Silver making moves, there is still a lot left unclear. Regardless, this seems to be a workable plan in the right direction that fans can get excited about.

In Conclusion

In the vortex of negativity, there is a slight bit of good news on the horizon. By all accounts, the NBA is resuming the season. Unless the threat of a second wave of the virus solidifies, it seems that the League is moving full steam ahead with a future season as well. Of course, this is all subject to change given the emphasis on public health and safety. However, until such threats become concrete, it seems fair to say that the NBA is definitely back.

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Andre is the New York Knicks Lead Writer for
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