The 2019-20 NBA season restart hasn’t OFFICIALLY begun yet. However, I can say that I am relieved to see that there isn’t a coronavirus outbreak within the Orlando bubble yet among the 22 teams there, including the Washington Wizards.
Major League Baseball, on the other hand isn’t so lucky. Seventeen members of the Miami Marlins (if not more), including players and coaches have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last few days. It has forced the MLB to postpone games, including a local team in the Baltimore Orioles.
(Yes, I know, the Washington Nationals are the defending World Series champions. But the O’s were the first baseball team I fell in love with. Sorry, Lerners, even if you are part of the Wizards’ ownership. But I digress).
To this point, we have seen an MLB team based in Florida, one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus, face its wrath. At this point, MLB doesn’t want to end the season just because of one team’s unfortunate interaction with COVID-19. But the NBA, and the WNBA too, are also playing in the global epicenter. And yet, we aren’t hearing of outbreaks ... yet.
Let’s assume that the NBA doesn’t have a team outbreak of coronavirus cases between now and October. If that ends up being the case, I think we can call that a huge success, even though I have consistently maintained that I would rather see the season be cancelled.
It is certainly possible that in Europe, we’ll see Ajax Amsterdam play in the UEFA Champions League looking to make another Cinderella run. Or maybe we’ll see FC Barcelona’s men’s. basketball team doing its thing in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
Either way, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Dutch soccer and Spanish basketball teams play ... WITH FANS!!! But the European Union has handled the virus better than the United States for a variety of reasons, ranging from citizens’ larger trust in the government to political leaders from the left and right trusting the scientists’ and doctors’ determinations. Those are two things that Americans lack, regardless of how you look at it.
So let’s apply that to the NBA. If the NBA can have its entire postseason in the only first world country that doesn’t unilaterally trust science and doctors in one of the world’s worst coronavirus hotspots, it leads me to this question. Should the NBA hold its entire 2020-21 season in a bubble within America?
In general, I believe that the NBA should hold the season in another country where political leaders trust the doctors, whether it’s Canada or the European Union or South Korea. But the NBA is ultimately an American league. I understand that we can take the NBA out of America for a period of time — but we’ll never take America out of the NBA. And to this point, the NBA may be able to pull off a vital postseason IN one of the world’s hotspots without a major outbreak within the bubble!
Assuming all of that happens, I don’t see any reason why the NBA should NOT continue playing 2020-21 season games, so long as it is in a “bubble environment” in the United States, or if each NBA team adopts a country in the European Union that takes the virus more seriously than our federal government is to this point.
Should the NBA play the 2020-21 season entirely within a bubble?
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