China may have been the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic, but it has gone days without a new case, having gotten control of the outbreak. Life in that nation is reportedly starting to return to normal.
That means restarting the Chinese Basketball Association season, which stopped play two months ago.
United States-based players were called back recently, and while there was some hesitation at first, many have returned. That starts with Jeremy Lin, who posted about it on Instagram.
Safely landed back in Beijing to finish out the CBA season! Excited to hoop again, but leaving the bay worried and with a heavy heart for the sick, the jobless and all those fighting fear, anxiety and stress over the unknown future. Shoutout to our medical staff in the 50 states for working tirelessly and everyone keep doing your part in slowing the virus! It's been an awesome 2 months camped out in the gym…basketball has never been more meaningful. The world needs basketball now more than ever. I still remember when I went through my toughest moments and worst injuries, you guys were there for me. I hope to return the favor. As all you beloved fans told me the day after my knee injury, keep fighting bc we're #NeverDone ❤️ #14dayquarantine #airportcouchesarenttoobad
A post shared by Jeremy Lin 林書豪 (@jlin7) on Mar 19, 2020 at 7:34am PDT
He is far from alone, Kevin Wang reports for ESPN.
As of now, among those who have returned to China are Lin, Ty Lawson, Donatas Motiejunas, Sonny Weems, Kyle Fogg, Pooh Jeter, Marko Todorovic, Antonio Blakeney and Ekpe Udoh. More are expected to return in coming days…
Lance Stephenson, who is in his first CBA stint with Liaoning, has indicated he will return. “Ready,” he posted on Weibo with a video highlight of himself from earlier in the season.
That’s good news for the players in the CBA, who saw their paychecks stop when the league stopped.
It’s impossible to draw a straight line from the return of the CBA and the potential timing of a return for the NBA — different nation, different culture, different handling of the outbreak. As NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said this week, nobody with the NBA has any idea when games will return and in what form.
At least people are getting back to playing basketball somewhere. That is a reason for hope.