Category: NBA

COVID 19 By the Numbers

          By: Austin Maki      

Scott Stinson: In this time without sports due to COVID-19, there ...

Empty Scotiabank Arena, what will be the new norm during the Pandemic

The novel Corona virus, or as it is popularly known as COVID 19, has caused an upheaval in society not seen since the world wars. The short-term effects are being felt presently, the long-term ramifications though will be felt for years to come. We here at Sports Aces website are a sports-based website and we of course we mainly want to focus on the sports side of this. There is however a very real human impact as well.  Let us look at some numbers to try to put in perspective how devastating COVID 19 has been for not only sports, but the entire world.

4.71 Million: Worldwide cases of COVID, including 77,309 confirmed cases in Canada.

15 percent: The amount of the schedule that remained in the NHL regular season before the season was cancelled due to the pandemic. How that gets made up is yet to be determined. The NBA on the other hand had 21 percent of the regular season remaining.

$610,000: The amount of money Major League Baseball is losing from every missed home game this season according to the numbers released by the owners. The MLB season was supposed to start on March 26th and is still yet to get under way.

10,000: That is the number of COVID-19 tests per week Major League Baseball would is hoping to administer and process to return to play. This includes overhauling stadiums and in-game settings to encourage social distancing and play during the pandemic. With testing in the United States limited already, this seems ambitious.

40-5: 40 and 5 represent the amount of rounds that the MLB draft used to be and what it will be, for this season at least because of COVID. What this does to the farm systems of teams and development of baseball players in general.

6.3 million: The viewers for the first episode for the Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” in the United States. The single highest ratting for any television event since the Pandemic started. This number shows how desperate people were to consume anything sports related or new.

25-30 million: The amount of money the salary cap could go down in the National Basketball Association is current economic trends continue due to Corona. The ramifications this would have on team building are almost impossible to comprehend. What would this mean for free agents, or players who recently signed an extension is equally unknown.

1945: The last time Wimbledon was cancelled due to World War 2. It was cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

$869 million: The amount of money the NCAA lost by cancelling the 2020 NCAA tournament. This event makes up almost 3 quarters of the organization’s income. We can take issue with the NCAA’s amateur model, but without question, the loss of so much income will have ripple effects extending to many other college sports.

30 million: Americans have filed unemployment claims since midMarch, the highest number since the great depression of 1918. While not specifically a sports related stat, these are the people that consume sport for entertainment. If they have no disposable income because they do not have a job, where does sport fit into that.  As of the beginning of May, 15 percent of the American work force did not have a job. While Canada has avoided such disastrous numbers thus far, experts predict it might not to be far away. Sports will directly feel this.

$5 million: The amount money raised for COVID related relief projects on May 17th by Rory McIlory, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and Mathew Wolf in a televised skin game.

14 Days: The amount of time any international citizen would have to Self Isolate if entering Canada. After the 14-day period they would be able to rejoin team activities.  

150 million: The amount of money the CFL has asked from the Canadian Federal government to cover operating costs across the next two seasons. The CFL revealed teams were bleeding money at a staggering rate, collectively losing anywhere from $10 to $20 million last season. A major part of there income come from gate revenue, which even with a season, would not exist. The existence of the league itself may be in jeopardy.

Mid-2021: The date Most experts think a vaccine is likely to become available. A vaccine would normally take years, if not decades, to develop. Researchers hope to achieve the same amount of work in only a few months. That would be a huge scientific feat and there are no guarantees it will work.

MOCK TWEET: The numbers behind the COVID 19 pandemic paints a dark picture. In this article we look at some of those numbers and what the mean going forward.

Sports and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sports teams and facilities brace for COVID-19 outbreak by sterilizing facilities.

By: Victoria Femia

For the past two month the world came to a screeching halt as the COVID-19 pandemic took over. Businesses shutdown, people are isolated in their homes, and one of the biggest things to happen, happened.  

Every sport shutdown completely. 

After a couple months of putting plans and protocols into place it seems like pro sports are finally looking to make a comeback. Fans everywhere are excited and hopeful for the return of seeing their favourite sport but there could be downfalls to sports seasons resuming. 

It’s important to look at how this all began for different leagues, what’s next and how this will affect the athletes as well as the franchises.

NBA

The NBA was the first major league to make a decision to suspend the league indefinitely. The decision came after Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, became the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19. 

The news of a player testing positive for the virus came minutes before tip-off between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz. The league postponed the game and shortly after they postponed the season. 

From then 13 other NBA players have tested positive for the virus including Kevin Durant, Marcus Smart and Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell. Fast Forward two months later, the league is 2-4 weeks away from making a decision on whether to resume the season or not. But resuming the season begs the question of, is it safe to play? 

A group of superstars in the league, including LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony David and others, had a private conference call and the consensus was that all players are in favor of returning to play. 

One main thing Commissioner Adam Silver is looking to do is to find a “hub city” to host all the NBA games to limit player travel. 

The only thing that is for sure is that if/when the season resumes there will be no fans in the audience.

NHL

Following the suspension of the NBA season, the NHL quickly followed and suspended their season with 189 regular season games remaining.  A total of 4 unnamed players have tested positive in the league, two from the Ottawa Senators and two from the Colorado Avalanche. 

Unlike the AHL, who cancelled their season and the Calder Cup, the NHL seems to be taking a different route with their season. It looks like the league will be resuming as per NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, he came out saying that cancelling the season “is not something I’m even contemplating.”

“I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done,” Bettman said. 

Much like the NBA, the NHL is looking for a hub city for the season to resume. It is also very likely that they would skip the regular season jumping straight into playoffs with a 24-team playoff structure. 

An infectious disease specialist believes hockey may have to take extra precautions to be played safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. The doctor relayed a list of suggestions to TSN, including full face shields, no fighting, and no spitting.

MLB

The MLB didn’t even get a chance to finish their spring training before the Coronavirus shut them down. 

The league is now making plans to resume the season, but many complications will follow. In order to resume the season there cannot be any fans in the stadium for safety purposes which is a main factor in the players pay cuts.

The MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke publicly about the health and safety plans that the league is creating to submit to the players’ union. Manfred also says that if they don’t play this season the losses for the owners could approach $4 billion. 

Some MLB players would rather the season be cancelled because of all the complications that come with resuming the season. 

Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays was one player who voiced his opinion about the matter. He took to his personal Twitch account to say playing this season is not worth it with all the pay cuts and not being able to see his family. 

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies backed up Snell’s comments saying, “Someone has to say it.”

Tweet: “Find out how major leagues are keeping up with the COVID-19 pandemic by reading ‘Sports and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ by Victoria Femia.”

COVID-19’s Impact on the NBA and Basketball World

How the NBA is staying relevant

The NBA has been shut down for 72 days and will lose hundreds of millions if the season doesn’t return.

By: Quinn MacDonald

Being a professional basketball player sure comes with its benefits; Fame, status and money to name a few. They’re viewed as celebrities and inspirational icons, who are extremely talented at what they do. 

But imagine being at the forefront, or even a potential cause for the COVID-19 outbreak. How do they deal with this pandemic on top of all the added pressure of being famous?

This article breaks down what some of the top tier NBA players and the league have been doing amidst this pandemic – how they’ve been helping others and how they’ve been staying relevant.

The Beginning of the End

It all started on Wednesday March 11th in Oklahoma City. Team doctors were seen rushing onto the court to inform officials that Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Days prior Gobert jokingly touched all the reporters microphones following a press conference. Gobert’s ignorance isn’t so funny now. 

Gobert’s teammate, Donavon Mitchell, tested positive for COVID-19 and was reportedly furious with Gobert’s actions – rightfully so!

NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, immediately took action the next day and suspended the NBA for a minimum of 30 days. Which was soon followed by all other major sporting leagues as the virus became more severe. 

The Worst has yet to Come

Over the next few days several players and staff for several organizations tested positive for COVID-19. All of which had played the Utah Jazz (or teams that played against Utah) within the last two weeks. 

Brooklyn Nets star, Kevin Durant was the most notable NBA player to test positive along with three of his teammates. Durant was spotted with Toronto artist Drake just a few days prior which had the whole music industry holding their breath. 

The NBA shut down soon after, restricting players from leaving the country and implemented self-isolation protocol. At which point the NBA decided to stop releasing information about players’ health for their own privacy. 

Making the Best of it

Since then the NBA has struggled to make headlines and entertain their fans. Initially TSN and Sportsnet re-ran the Raptors Championship run which was exciting, but pales in comparison to the real thing. 

Michael Jordan’s “The Last Dance” documentary was a huge success, drawing in over 23 million international viewers in the first four weeks. It’s helped sports show tremendously, sparking the debate of who is the “Greatest of All-Time” (GOAT).

But the most interesting thing the NBA did to stay relevant and entertaining was the “Horse Competition” which was won by Mike Conley. It was a great way to give basketball fans some content they’ve been craving during this quarantine. WNBA and NBA players had the chance to show off their skills and personality which made for great entertainment. 

Serge Ibaka of the Toronto Raptors kept on entertaining his fans via Instagram. Whether it’s taking part in internet challenges, or motivating others to stay in shape with workout videos, Ibaka surely made the most of this quarantine time.  

We are all in this Together

The entire world has been affected by COVID-19 and it doesn’t seem like things will be back to normal anytime soon, if ever.

There have been a ton of players giving back to the community during these trying times. NBA Stars such as Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Zion Willamson, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and many team owners have donated money to help cover lost wages for arena staff.

Former President, Barack Obama, took to twitter to commend those players who are helping out.  There is no amount of money that could put this pandemic to ease, but it’s certainly nice to see those athletes giving back to those who’ve helped them all along.

Magic in the Air 

The latest news regarding the NBA is that they green-lighted the idea of resuming play in a central host location. And it just so happens to be in the “happiest place” in the world, Walt Disney World Resort. 

The infrastructure is perfect to host major sports with a 220-acre athletic complex that features numerous courts to host several games at the same time, hotels to lodge either 30 or 16 teams depending on if the NBA resumes the regular season or jumps straight into the playoffs.

Player health and safety is the top priority and will be closely monitored leading up to a potential return. Things are looking hopefully as the world works its way back to normalcy… whatever the new normal might be.

Mock Tweet: “Go check out my latest article on COVID-19’s impact on the NBA. Breaking down the whole basketball world and how the industry has stayed relevant. All that and more only on sportsaces.net” @Quinn_MacD

A Championship Year for the Toronto Raptors.

In the span of one year Canada became a threat to the world of sports, specifically basketball. The Toronto Raptors showed the rest of the NBA they are a winning team.

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors hits the game-winning shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

By: Victoria Femia

This year consisted of some of the craziest moments we’ve seen in sports. But for Canadians this year was historic. 

Holding the top spot, as probably Canada’s ultimate moment of the decade, is the Toronto Raptors winning their first ever Championship.

With Kawhi Leonard coming off an injury season with the Spurs in which he only played  9 games and Toronto trading away one of their stars, DeMar DeRozan, people were not expecting the Raptors to make it far.

But doubts against the team started to fade as Toronto maintained a spot high up in the Eastern Conference standings. 

After coming off a 58-24 regular season, it was time for playoffs. 

The first round against the Orlando Magic came and gone, but the second round was a back and forth battle that ended in dramatic fashion.

The series went to game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers, and it was an iconic game.

With 4 seconds left, the Raptors had possession on the inbound and the game plan? get the ball to Kawhi Leonard.

Marc Gasol inbounded the ball to Leonard who took it to the corner, shot it and hoped for the best. The ball dramatically bounced from each side of the rim before finally going through the hoop. 

This was the first game 7 buzzer-beater in NBA history, which led to its name, “The Shot.

Tears were shed by the 76ers, Joel Embiid specifically, and just like that the Raptors had moved on to the Eastern Conference finals to face the Milwaukee Bucks.

Given that Toronto was 1-4 against the Bucks in the regular season, most people thought Milwaukee would take the series. It started out with Milwaukee winning the first two games which made people doubt Toronto even more.

But the unpredictable Toronto Raptors went on to win the next 4 games to close out the Bucks and win the Eastern Conference title. 

Toronto was so close to a title and the city was electric, every game thousands of fans filled the outside of the Scotiabank Arena, aka Jurassic Park to cheer on their team. 

The Raptors went on to face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

The whole Raptor team had stepped up tremendously during the playoffs, Norman Powell turned into “playoff Powell,” racking up points for Toronto. Fred VanVleet was consistently hitting clutch threes along with Marc Gasol. Pascal Siakam was averaging 20 points per game and Leonard was averaging 28 points in the playoffs. 

Toronto dismantled Golden State player by player. An injured Kevin Durant tried to make an early return to the series to attempt to save the Warriors from losing but failed as he ruptured his achilles. Then Klay Thompson tried desperately to keep them alive in game 6 but he left the game with a torn ACL. It was all up to Steph Curry, who was noticeably exhausted. 

Raptors took full advantage of the injury riddled Warriors, winning game 6 114-110 and went on to win their first NBA Championship. 

After the game the crowd cheered for Leonard as he hoisted up his second Finals MVP trophy. 

To celebrate their first title, over one million fans crowded the streets of downtown Toronto and about 100,000 packed Nathan Phillips Square and the surrounding streets at the Raptors Championship parade.

The Raptors ambassador, Drake, was of course in attendance celebrating with the team on their bus. 

At the end of the ceremony Leonard gave a speech to the crowd telling them to “enjoy this moment and have fun with it,” he then mocked himself by doing his own infamous laugh.

Not long after, Marc Gasol completed a historic double by winning the World Cup with Spain. The Raptors centre became the 2nd player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year.

It was the perfect way to cap off a Championship year for the Toronto Raptors.

Tweet: “Read my article, ‘A Championship Year for the Toronto Raptors’ to recap on one of the greatest moments of 2019.”

Dirk Nowitzki quietly said goodbye

The Dallas Mavericks Legend retired after 21 seasons in the NBA

DALLAS, TX – June 16 2011: Dirk Nowitzki waves to fans during the Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals Victory celebration

By Harley Kock

While some guys like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade went on a year long retirement tours, Dirk Nowitzki didn’t say goodbye until his final game in Dallas.

Continue reading “Dirk Nowitzki quietly said goodbye”

The NBA should cut ties with the China

Adam Silver ruined his original response to the Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s tweet on Hong Kong

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey has since deleted his infamous tweet supporting Hong Kong democracy protests
By Harley Kock The thing about the NBA and China situation is that it’s not a basketball issue. It never has been and never will be. The problem is sports writers and sports TV analysts are commenting on a situation that they have little to no knowledge of. Continue reading “The NBA should cut ties with the China”

The Drake Effect

It’s only a game, let the man cheer.

Throughout the course of the 2018-2019 NBA season, more so in the playoffs; athletes,
fans and coaches seemed to have a problem with Drakes “antics.” But was it really too
much?

From heckling at any player on the court that was not apart of the Toronto Raptors to
actually ​ giving Raptors head coach Nick Nurse a shoulder massage on the sidelines,
Drake was able to poke fun at everyone in the NBA.

Continue reading “The Drake Effect”