NBA Opening Practice Facilities in Certain States
On Saturday, ESPN announced that the NBA will be allowing certain teams to open their practice facilities beginning May 1. The restriction is on a state per state basis, meaning that facilities will be opened in accordance with how much each individual state has eased stay-at-home orders. The other emphasis here is on practice facilities, meaning that players and staff in specific states can start going back to work. However, we are still far away from NBA arenas opening back up to fans and media.
What does this mean for the NBA?
The NBA has been officially shut down since March 11, 2020. Since then, it’s no secret that Adam Silver and the rest of the League have been working very hard to try to get things back to normal. Such efforts included hosting an NBA 2k20 players tournament, as well as a televised game of horse that included Chris Paul, Trae Young, and Tamika Catchings. The League has continued to find ways to innovate and adjust to the day by day turbulence caused by COVID-19. The move to open practice facilities is another step in that direction. It’s clear, though, that the NBA intends to be cautious, given the high danger posed by this virus.
Proceeding with Caution
This virus continues to prove itself as a constant and present threat. It has claimed the lives of thousands, including the mother of Minnesota Timberwolves center, Karl Anthony-Towns. The NBA is in no rush to expose fans, players, or any other staff to the virus’ reach. Obviously, the NBA will have to take a different direction when it comes to things such as player negotiations and the NBA draft. Other leagues, such as the WNBA and the NFL, have successfully used virtual options to conduct similar events. The NBA could easily do the same, and likely will. In fact, the League may have to settle for doing games without a live audience at all. Such a reality may be the future of sports, at least in the short term.
Until the NBA resumes, fans may not necessarily be left out to dry. As states continue to ease restrictions, the NBA will likely continue to open up practice facilities nationally. Additionally, as of now, the 2020 NBA draft has not been delayed or rescheduled from June 25. The League does not seem to be slowing down ways to keep fans entertained, and will likely continue to promote content that does just that. In the meantime, to quench that basketball hunger, fans can tune into ESPN to watch “The Last Dance,” a documentary based on Michael Jordan’s last year with the Chicago Bulls. Now more than ever, it is important to remember that while these may not be ideal times, these are times we can get through, together.
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