The NBA Is Reportedly Eyeing a Return Date: But Is It Too Soon?

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According to reports by ESPN and The Athletic, the National Basketball Association is getting close to a decision on when it will start playing again—and the date is looking to be sooner than some might deem safe or prudent. The league is reportedly considering using Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort as its playing site, even amid the coronavirus pandemic. It’s expected that guidance will be issued in early June stipulating that players can be called back into their markets, a step towards resuming the operations of a normal season. The NBA has been suspended since March 11 due to the pandemic.

With these new plans brewing, it raises the question: Is the NBA attempting to resume too quickly? Weighing in on the issue is Sports Illustrated writer Ben Pickman and Sports Illustrated Fantasy Exec Corey Parson.

Read the full video transcript below:

Robin Lundberg: The NBA seems poised for a return with Orlando and Disney World—the leading candidate to host the league. For more, I'm joined by our Ben Pickman and the fantasy exec Corey Parson. Now, guys, as fans, obviously, we want the NBA to come back. But in general, is it a good idea? Ben, we'll start with you. 

Ben Pickman: I mean, I think on a big picture level, yes, it is a good idea and would do good for the NBA to return. But I think it does need to be careful. Right, I mean, we've heard about this Disney World proposal and reportedly people will be in this quarantine campus environment. But Jared Dudley did say just yesterday, on Wednesday night, that there is a chance that players will be allowed to leave the bubble, and so that opens up some opportunity for risk. We also have obvious testing concerns about how frequently can they test the NBA players. We've seen in some other team sports, namely the Premier Lacrosse League and the NWSL, that have announced return to play tournaments, that they're fully controlling the environment of some of their teams and their participants. But there are a lot more people at risk in this scenario, not just the players. You have to consider media who's there, TV broadcasters, trainers, coaches, families, if they're allowed there. There are a lot of people at play. So it's important for the league not to rush back just too quickly. 

Robin Lundberg: You know, it should go without saying, we want everyone to be safe. However, you know, I don't really know how the circumstances are necessarily going to change too much if they wait. Corey?


Corey Parson: No doubt. And listen, here's my thing. I've been saying this for a while now. I think Adam Silver's the sharpest guy in professional sports. So I think it's been thoroughly vetted and I really feel like he knows what he's doing. When it boils down to what this is all about? Money. The NBA cannot continue to lose all of its revenue, whether it be TV or whatever have you. The players also want to play. We've seen Chris Paul, LeBron James also be very vocal about it. Now yeah, you have some guys go out of the bubble and stuff like that, but like, you know, it's professional responsibility. So I would think that it is a good idea. And to be honest with you, I hope that they can get it done.

Robin Lundberg: You know, look, what we did credit the NBA in some ways for leading when this crisis started. So perhaps they can help to lead at least the progress toward getting out of this crisis as well.

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