When are the NBA and live sports going to come back? That’s one of the main questions everyone across the country is wondering right now as we sit in isolation trying to stay safe from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, the answer is that no one knows, not even NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
Early on Monday evening, Silver joined TNT’s Ernie Johnson for an interview that was broadcast on the NBA’s Twitter feed and he answered plenty of questions about what’s going on behind the scenes at league offices right now. Perhaps the most interesting thing he said is that the league likely won’t have any clarity or the ability to make decisions about returning to play until at least May. In fact, Silver said in some ways he knows less now than he did right after suspending the season.
Silver’s full comments:
The short answer is no. Interestingly enough, I think if you and I on March 12 had been asked that same question, both of us would have said it’s hard to imagine three-plus weeks later we wouldn’t have a better understanding of where we are. In fact when we initially shut down, we were calling it a hiatus or a pause, there was a notion of 30 days. Because there wasn’t any of the widespread view — at that point — that our country in essence would be entirely shut down over the next several weeks.
The fact is now sitting here today, I know less in a way than I did then. I think it some ways, just as I listen to the public health experts, and the people that are advising us, the virus is potentially moving faster than we had thought at that point, and that it therefore may peak earlier. What that means in terms of our ability to come back at some point in late spring or summer is still unknown to me.
Essentially what I’ve told my folks over the last week is we should just accept that at least for the month of April we won’t be in a position to make any decision. I don’t think that necessarily means on May 1st we will be, but at least I know, just to settle everyone down a little bit, it doesn’t mean internally — both the league, and in discussions with the teams and players — that we aren’t looking at many different scenarios for restarting the season. But I think it honestly is just too early given what’s happening right now to be even able to predict or project where we’ll be in a few weeks.
A few weeks ago, following a call with the former surgeon general, NBA owners were reportedly hopeful of getting going again before July, but judging by Silver’s comments, it’s far too early to know if that will actually happen.
In the meantime, the league has worked to facilitate alternate forms of competition. There’s currently an NBA 2K tournament between players that is now in the quarterfinal stage, and they are reportedly trying to start up a H.O.R.S.E. contest between star players at their homes.
While those are obviously not the same as real games, it’s looking like we’ll have to make do with that kind of entertainment for at least a few more months. That will be worth it, though, in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.