Silver Considering NBA Charity Game, Permanent Schedule Reshaping
A Charity Game Is A Possibility
Rather than turning to more obscure events, fans around the country may soon be able to quench a thirst for sports with a taste of NBA basketball.
On Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver revealed a number of different points sure to pique the interest of spectators. The most immediate of those is the potential for some kind of charity game, giving a nation stuck indoors something to watch.
“One of the things we’ve been talking about are there conditions in which a group of players could compete – maybe it’s for a giant fundraiser or just the collective good of the people – where you take a subset of players and there is a protocol where they can be tested and quarantined and isolated in some way, and they could compete against one another?” Silver said.
In short, the exhibition game would be held for the purpose of entertaining fans. But holding such a competition could raise money for charity and be a significant first step back toward some level of normalcy.
After Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s positive coronavirus test served as the tipping point for the shutdown of sports in the United States, the NBA is now aiming the be a catalyst in the opposite direction.
When Could The NBA Resume Play?
With most estimates placing a return of real NBA basketball in June at the earliest, Silver discussed his thoughts and feelings on the matter.
“I’m optimistic by nature, and I want to believe that we’re going to be able to salvage at least some portions of this season,” Silver said.
As Silver laid out options for a return, he pointed toward two steps in a process that would get the NBA season going once again. “One is, when can we restart and operate as we’ve known it with 19,000 fans in buildings?” Silver said.
“Option two is, should we consider restarting without fans, and what would that mean?” Silver continued. “Because, presumably, if we had a group of players, and staff around them, and you could test them and follow some sort of protocol, doctors and health officials may say it’s safe to play.”
With the vast majority of fans consuming games from a screen rather than in a live capacity, it remains likely that we’ll be watching the return of the NBA without spectators in attendance.
Silver also said the league is keeping its options open regarding a change to format regarding the end of the season. While the NBA would like to be able to play out its full schedule, they’d be wise to wrap up play before the beginning of the NFL season.
Potential for Permanent Changes To NBA Schedule
Of all the information Silver revealed Wednesday evening, the idea with the longest-lasting ramifications is the potential for a permanent reshaping of the NBA schedule.
At least a portion of NBA owners has long advocated for a shift in the sport’s schedule to keep the beginning of the season out from under the shadow of the NFL. Such a change could move the NBA from an October-June schedule to a December-August schedule.
From October-June to December-August
With the potential for the current NBA season to extend into the late summer months, this is the perfect opportunity for the sport to make a change that figures to benefit virtually everyone involved in the foreseeable future.
Many casual sports fans aren’t interested in basketball until the NFL season comes to a close, so a delay to the beginning of the NBA season would mean more attention to the entirety of the basketball year rather than approximately 60%.
The NBA would also have the potential to dominate the summer months, which are currently only occupied by Major League Baseball out of the major sports. So, fans would have something significant to watch in the “dead period” of the sporting calendar, and the NBA would likely enjoy boosted ratings.
As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA could have an opportunity to come out of the other end even stronger.