With COVID-19 cases continuing to mount, the NBA and NBPA agreed this month to implement new rules and restrictions to help limit the spread of the virus. One of the guidelines that got plenty of attention was a mandate that players from opposing teams should not hug or shake hands before or after the game.
On Saturday night, we saw just how strict the league is planning to be with these new guidelines. After the Brooklyn Nets’ win over the Miami Heat, Bam Adebayo and Kyrie Irving stopped to chat, and a security person ran in and pulled Adebayo away before the two could exchange jerseys.
It definitely doesn’t hurt, but this rule is a bit strange considering players make contact with each other all game long. If you’re posting up and diving on top of each other for loose balls, how is a few seconds of conversation after the buzzer going to make a difference?
In any case, Irving said after the game that he eventually got the jersey from Adebayo. “I just want to follow NBA protocols,” Irving said after the game. “I have the jersey, by the way.”
If anyone should know about the league’s COVID-19 plan, it’s definitely Irving, who just a week ago was fined $50,000 for violating the health and safety protocols by attending a gathering with more than 15 people. He also had to quarantine as a result of his indiscretion, and forfeited the game checks for the contests he missed — a total that amounted to nearly $870,000.