NBA faces challenges due to COVID-19

NBA+faces+challenges+due+to+COVID-19

Ethan Lee

Although the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs originally planned to kick off on April 18, fans were stuck at home without their favorite sport on television due to the nationwide shelter-in-place order. The NBA hiatus sparked rumors surrounding the future of the 2019-2020 NBA season with some believing that the season will continue during the summer if the pandemic ends, while others believe that it will be canceled altogether. Currently, sources around the league expect that games will begin in July, but the exact timing will depend on the extent of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the availability of testing. 

The NBA’s initial response to the pandemic was to continue the season without an audience. This seemed to be effective until NBA all-star player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. The news took the NBA by storm, as Gobert had played a game a few nights before the discovery with players, coaches, referees and stadium employees in close proximity. Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell later tested positive as well, stirring up controversy between fans and within the NBA, ultimately leading to the season being postponed. Many other players such as Kevin Durant and Marcus Smart soon tested positive for the disease as well. Several fans have expressed their dismay at the effect of the coronavirus on the NBA. The NBA is now expecting a return at the end of July where they use Disney World as a single site to hold NBA games, practices and housing of players. They are also considering whether to have 24 teams or 30 teams to participate at Disney World.

“I can’t believe the pandemic caused the NBA to close at such a crucial time: right before the playoffs,” said junior Edward Wang. “I was really looking forward to the playoffs since there are a lot of teams with super-star players.”

With the current season on hold, fans have found other ways to engage with the sport. Some have started debates on which players are better than others in addition to ranking their favorite players and teams of all time. Additionally, NBA Live on Facebook and sports networks have been broadcasting old games and playoff series highlighting significant players in NBA history. 

Fans have also been poking fun at moments in NBA history on social media such as the infamous game winning shot that Damian Lillard hit in game five against the Oklahoma City Thunder to advance his team into the conference finals. These videos have brought joy to some members of the basketball community while making other fans bitter for recalling the moments they hated. Fans have been continually posting their NBA content across different social media channels.

“I’ve really enjoyed scrolling through the NBA content on my social media feed,” sophomore Tammi Trujillo said. “Having nothing to do all day, looking at the posts is a great way to pass time.”

In addition to sharing their love for basketball on social media, fans have found ways in real life to connect to the sport. Countless fans have also been hosting their own three-point contests at home with items such as socks and plastic bottles to replace balls and a trash can or basket for the hoop. This trend was motivated in part by the closure roughly happening after the all-star break when many entertaining competitions were held, such as the three-point contest and the dunk contest. Fans have been doing all they can to stay connected online with the game by either sharing their favorite memories from past seasons or performing their own basketball workouts to improve. 

“Because of the NBA closure, I’ve been inspired to work hard on my game to become the best that I can be,” junior Halia Yee said. “I do conditioning and schedule zoom video calls with my teammates and coaches to keep up with my basketball skills.”

During this time without the NBA, fans have begun to realize and appreciate all the memories it has brought to them. These memories help them pass the time while hoping for a fast return to the NBA.