China Delays the Return of Basketball, and the NBA is Paying Close Attention

Justin Grasso

The coronavirus has affected countries all around the globe. At this very moment, the United States of America is seeing the number of cases within multiplying. No wonder why sports are no longer a thing at this moment.

Earlier this month, the NBA was preparing for some drastic changes due to the rise of the pandemic. After seeing how COVID-19 affected China, the NBA was coming up with several ways to help prevent the spread of the virus without canceling operations.

But that plan didn't last very long. Nearly three weeks ago, the NBA played its last slate of games. Once word got out that a player from Utah tested positive for COVID-19, that was it -- the league shut down. And once other sports leagues saw the NBA take that kind of action, everybody else around the country followed up by doing the same.

At this point, sports leagues are playing follow the leader. For the NBA, they are paying close attention to how the Chinese Basketball Association is operating after their country got their pandemic under control. There's a good chance the NBA will look to make similar moves as the CBA whenever they come back.

Unfortunately, the CBA isn't quite ready to return at this point. The CBA has been out of action since January with plans to return in April, potentially, but the Chinese government issued an order on Tuesday to prevent the return of basketball, according to ESPN.

"The CBA's attempts to return to action after being shut down since January because of the coronavirus is seen as a test case for American sports leagues," ESPN's Brian Windhorst wrote on Tuesday. "The General Administration of Sport, the body that issued the order, gave no timetable for when it plans to lift the new restriction."

At this point, the NBA is in the same boat. Although they are currently on a 30-day 'break,' it's quite apparent that American basketball will not make a return at any point in April. And as the NBA sees the CBA struggling to get back out on the court to resume their season, it's becoming evident that it will take at least a couple of months before we see basketball back in action here.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_