The 2019 season – which has been postponed to March – is set to begin on July 31, and 22 of the 30 NBA teams will gather in Orlando, Florida, to end the season at the Disney World complex.
But while Silver is confident that “it will be safer on this campus than off that campus,” a “significant spread” of positive cases among players could result in the cancellation of the season.
“[It’s] never ‘full steam no matter what’. One thing we learn about this virus is that a lot of it is unpredictable. “
The NBA recently announced that after testing 302 of its players, 16 respondents tested positive. One of those 16, DeAndre Jordan of the Brooklyn Nets, announced on Twitter that, after his positive test, he would not be traveling to Florida.
Currently, the ratio of positive cases does not worry Silver. “It’s not alarming based on what we see in the wider population,” Silver says. “In many ways, it was a bit predictable. Where it relieves me the most … is that among those 16 positive tests, there isn’t a single severe case.”
A coalition of NBA players – led by Brooklyn Nets patron Kyrie Irving – has voiced opposition to the league’s plan to restart and instead decided to set aside the rest of the season to continue to focus on the Black Lives Matter movement and the global call for social change following George Floyd’s murder at police hands. in May.
However, Silver believes players can do more good by using their platforms during the restart, with the eyes of the sports world watching.
And Silver supports the players and their desire to speak.
“These athletes want to be heard on these issues, understandably,” Silver said. “And we also, at least in the case of the NBA, have a league where approximately 75% of our players are Black.
“They’re probably some of the most prominent blacks in the whole world. They don’t just play skin color or the ones they are when they play basketball. They have their life experience and they want to lead them to it.”