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Friday, July 30, 2021

NBA inching toward a bad decision

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As a self-confessed NBA junkie, I continue to struggle with the suspension of the current professional basketball season and proclaim my agony to anyone who will listen. Keep in mind, you’re reading the random thoughts of someone who’ll watch a west coast contest between the two last place teams in the conference on a weeknight, so yes, I am a highly troubled individual to begin with. 

l’ve even resorted to watching reruns of games in which l know the outcome and pretending it’s actually a suitable substitution.

Forget the fact that l’m actually up in the wee hours telling my three dogs what is about to transpire in a game that was played seven years ago, as I need to make sure that 3-pointer goes in during the third time I watch the game, sitting bleary-eyed in front of my big screen, pretending this season isn’t a complete washout.

However, the reality of the situation does not lend to such occurring, at least until recently when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated teams may resume working out at their respective facilities on May 8.

Silver, who in my opinion has been a stellar executive to date, actually wanted to give the aforementioned a go on May 1 and received some pushback from a few of the owners he works for. So, like many of the decision makers in these terribly challenging times, he’s deferring to a week-to-week assessment of the situation, using the decisions of governors in the respective states that have franchises as to when states can put up the proverbial “We’re open for business” signs again and allow players to take the floor and practice, albeit in small numbers and without coaches in attendance.

After a couple of weeks, chances are he’ll loosen up the regulations even more and allow for full scale practices to be conducted in hopes of salvaging the 2020 playoffs and crowning a champion.

Now normally that would be music to my ears, but with a number of medical experts with advanced degrees stating this pandemic isn’t even close to being over, and with some predicting a second wave in the fall, how realistic is Silver’s effort to resuscitate the season?

As a good friend stated to me just this morning, we cannot sustain self-isolation forever, and while gradually resuming things is a logical desire, the fact remains that the NBA is no different than any other business entity who is chomping at the bit to reinvigorate their revenue streams by filling their arenas and selling overpriced sodas.

As I continue to feel terrible for the large number of hard-working television technicians in this market who derive a large portion of their income from NBA telecasts, the question is just how safe is it to resume your professional endeavors at this juncture? 

Asking an old curmudgeon like me is not what you want to do if you’re looking for a green light, the coast is clear analogy, so I’ll point out a couple of billionaire NBA team owners with contrasting views. Mark Cuban, who, of course, owns the Dallas Mavericks put it in simplistic terms when saying, “Is it safe yet for my children to attend a movie or a public gathering, and the answer is no.” Conversely, Herb Simon, who owns the Indiana Pacers, plans to open some of his corporation’s shopping malls in our community this weekend.

While Simon has generally been a great steward of the franchise, I believe his decision is a hasty one, and unfortunately mirrors that of the NBA. Sure, they don’t care what a 60-year-old man trying to make it to 61 thinks, and l fully understand that. I’m inclined to agree with Cuban, and his rightful protection of his children aside, what is really wrong with pumping the brakes here for another 30 days? How does that impact the NBA Playoffs you might ask? 

Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, this hoops junkie doesn’t care if he sees any more dunks and 3-pointers again this season if it will help preserve the health and welfare of our nation. Play the games with no fans in attendance if you must, but the NBA can be a leader when it comes to professional sports and the example it sets can have dramatic impact on everyone, and not just those who love the game. Commisioner Silver has a decision to make, and while it seems daunting in some aspects, it appears crystal clear to me.

It’s too early for large crowds in basketball arenas, and the danger is real. Take the month of May and think about it, Mr. Silver, and be a leader who evaluates what is good for your fan base. It’s downright depressing to think about jettisoning the season, but that’s where you’re at. Hopefully, you’ll make the right decision by letting your heart guide you entirely, instead of your balance sheet.

Danny Bridges, who thinks the NBA should cancel the 2020 season and encourages everyone to safely lay low as long as possible, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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