The NBA’s Return Sets Up a Massive Fall Sports Slate
Following the news today that the NBA's board of governors intends to approve a league proposal that includes a 22-team format to restart the season in Orlando, Florida, the fall sports landscape looks to be one of the best yet.
Since March, all major sports have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA Tournament, along with all other spring college sports were canceled, while sports like Major League Baseball and NHL joined the NBA in delaying its season. Now, all sports leagues are gathering information and the resources needed in order to come up with the proper return-to-play format. The NBA has its bubble-system at The Walt Disney World Resort starting on July 31. The NHL intends to jump right into playoffs. While the MLB awaits a compromise between the players and owners, it still feels like there's a possibility at a reduced season starting in late July or early August.
Throw in the resumption of golf, the presumed start of the NFL season in September and the possibility of college football ramping up and we are looking at one massive sports slate in September that this country has ever seen!
Take the weekend of September 20 for example. We could be looking at the following in one weekend: (1) NBA playoffs; (2) NHL hockey playoffs; (3) MLB regular-season finale; (4) NFL week two; (5) college football; and (6) U.S. Open final round. Talk about being in sports heaven!
On the flip side though, there are still a lot of variables in each league's resumption. The NBA was initially shut down due to Rudy Gobert contracting the coronavirus on March 12. What will happen if a player tests positive during the playoffs? For baseball, getting the owners on the same page with the players seems like an uphill battle. Other sports like golf, hockey and college sports seem to follow the guidance of other leagues. And with over a hundred team members, personnel and coaches on football teams, all "social distancing" is thrown out the window.
But the good news is sports finally has a return date. Leagues have plans in motion. And although these modified seasons could have asterisks when it's all said and done, sports will help us all find the smallest, most insignificant sort of escape from the current situation we are in.