COVID-19’s Impact on the NBA and Basketball World
How the NBA is staying relevant
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 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 tests positive for COVID-19 and is 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 to follow 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 has 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.
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.