Cuban's NBA Christmas Start Date 'Gaining Momentum'

Mike Fisher

DALLAS - The original idea, as proposed by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, has since been molded into multiple iterations and pushed through multiple hoops.

But the concept remains the same: What if the NBA starts its 2020-21 on Christmas Day?

Multiple reports say the NBA's Board of Governors is meeting on Friday to discuss possible changes to the 2020-21 season. A sooner-rather-than-later start is apparently an agenda item, as is the idea of playing fewer than 82 games. Those two concepts, in combination, could allow the league to squeeze a "full'' season into a tighter calendar.

Part of Cuban's point includes always starting on Christmas Day as a way to avoid ratings clashes with the all-powerful NFL. (Read more here). Advocates of Cuban's idea note that in terms of the attention that comes to the NBA, traditional high-profile Christmas Day games in a sense mark "the real beginning'' (of when the audience locks in), anyway.

Some teams think the crunch is too demanding, and the idea of opening nearer Martin Luther King Day in mid-January is reportedly in play. But Marc Stein notes the idea is "gaining momentum.''

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It has been the long-standing wish of NBA commissioner Adam Silver - while fully acknowledging the relative success of last season finishing in a "bubble'' in Orlando - to oversee a league returning in 2020-21 to play a full 82-game season ... and to do so in front of fans. 

But those wishes pre-date where the league and the country presently view the risks of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that will be central to the Board of Governors' discussion before they present their proposal to the National Basketball Players Association for approval.

The NBA and NBPA reportedly set Oct. 30 as the deadline to finish discussions on altering some aspects of the collective bargaining agreement for the 2020-21 season to fit present-day realities.