It’s been more than two months since the NBA halted play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, however, still isn’t ready to write the season off just yet.
“Definitely not giving up on the season,” James said on Monday, via the Uninterrupted. “Not only myself and my teammates, the Lakers organization, we want to play. There’s a lot of players that I know personally that want to play. And obviously, we don’t ever want to jeopardize the health of any of our players or any of the players’ families and so on and so on.
“This is a pandemic that we have no idea [about]. We can’t control it.”
The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver have not come up with a set plan to finish the season, and are currently weighing multiple options — including jumping straight to some form of the postseason, playing in a “bubble” at a singular site in Las Vegas or Disney World and more. Silver said on a call with some of the league’s top players last week that a decision on the season doesn’t have to be made until some point in June.
Players Association president Chris Paul said last week that a majority of players in the league want to finish out the season, though some — like Hall of Famer and current analyst Shaquille O’Neal — think it’d be better to simply scrap it and move on.
There were more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Monday night, according to The New York Times, and more than 90,000 deaths attributed to it. Many teams are in states where stay-at-home orders are still implemented, though the league is working with teams to open up practice facilities. As of Monday, per the Associated Press, more than half of teams in the league had done so.
Several leagues have started resuming play in recent weeks. Both the WWE and UFC held events in Florida without fans this month, NASCAR held a race last weekend, and Germany’s Bundesliga resumed its season on Saturday. The PGA Tour will resume play next month, too.
Though James said he misses the game and would love to keep playing, he’s not sure when that’s going to be possible.
“We’re seeing a lot of sporting events, UFC, soccer, we’re hearing baseball’s about to get going in a little bit,” James said, via the Uninterrupted. “You know, I want to get back to playing. I love the game of basketball. I know how inspiring the game of basketball is. I know how inspiring sport is, itself. As soon as possible, when we can get back out there, we’d love to bring the game of basketball to our fans.
“As a fan myself, I know we all miss it. I would be sitting here lying if I said I don’t … Hopefully this 2020 season can continue sooner than later.”
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