Sports fans crave live competition, but NBA season remains on hold


Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and guard Donovan Mitchell, who have both tested positive for Covid-19 (Courtesy of Duane Burleson)

Declan McDaniels

On March 12th, a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz was postponed seconds before tip-off, when teams were alerted that Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for Covid-19. This sudden cancellation came as a surprise to NBA fans, especially those who were already in their seats eagerly awaiting the game at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Players from both teams were immediately escorted off the court and into the locker rooms to be tested for the virus. Though the infected player was not in the arena, there was still an abundance of fear in the atmosphere. Following this alert, the NBA promptly announced the suspension of the regular season until further notice. At that time, Jazz guard, Donovan Mitchell, was the only other player that tested positive for coronavirus.

Since the suspension, other NBA players and staff have announced that they tested positive for the virus. This list includes Nets forward Kevin Durant, Celtics guard Marcus Smart, sideline reporter Doris Burke, New York Knicks owner James Dolan, and others that remain unnamed. Players are utilizing social media to advise fans to stay inside and not underestimate the seriousness of the pandemic. 

“Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine,”  Durant said. “We’re going to get through this.”

Nets forward Kevin Durant, who is one of four players on the Brooklyn Nets to test positive for Covid-19

Durant played three seasons for the Golden State Warriors before leaving to play for the Brooklyn Nets. Durant was one of four Brooklyn Nets players that tested positive for coronavirus. The three other players remain anonymous.

The NBA has used the hiatus to take the steps necessary to assess the situation at hand; consulting with public health experts to determine the best time to resume games. In an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated that for the month of April, the NBA won’t be in a position to make any decisions regarding the season. Silver also shared that, in a perfect world, the NBA would finish out the regular season in some form, and then move on to the playoffs.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended the season due to Covid-19

“Initially, through the first week, two weeks, we were looking at more specific scenarios,” Silver said. “If we start this date, what would it mean for the regular season? When would the playoffs begin? When would they conclude? What I’ve learned over the last few weeks is we just have too little information to make those sort of projections.” 

The NBA was scheduled to have just over a month left of regular-season games, followed by two months of playoffs. 

Until decisions can be made about a return date, the NBA and its players have found ways to keep both themselves and the fans entertained. Players, such as Devin Booker, Trae Young, Kevin Durant, and Donovan Mitchell, have entered an NBA 2k video game tournament for NBA players, and are live streaming their games on Twitch or ESPN for fans to enjoy. Others have taken to social media, talking with other players or answering questions from fans through Instagram Live. Along with virtual interactions, the NBA has set up a H-O-R-S-E game, where players from both the NBA and WNBA will compete from their at-home courts in a televised competition on ESPN. These efforts are being made to keep fans engaged with live sports amidst a worldwide pandemic.

For many people, live sports are an important form of entertainment, and this holds true in the Redwood community. Though important, Redwood sophomore and NBA fan, Alex Coleman, believes that the players’ health is more important than live competition.

 “I miss watching basketball, but the players need to stay healthy,” Coleman said. “I’m just glad they are giving us alternatives by showing replays of old games.” 

As the global pandemic continues to unfold, the Redwood community and the rest of the sports world will most likely have to wait until summertime for the NBA season to continue.