When the NBA announced it would suspend play on March 11 due to the growing concerns of the coronavirus pandemic, it set off a chain of reactions which caused several other sports leagues to postpone or cancel events. At this point, it’s still unclear when play will resume, though on Saturday afternoon, leading sports figures from around the sports world did hold a conference call with President Donald Trump.
Trump told the commissioners that he hopes to have fans back in arenas and stadiums by the late summer or early fall, according to Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. That proclamation will likely be taken with a grain of salt, however, as it’s still far too early to know how the virus will still be affecting us by that time.
“They want to get back,” Trump said of the sports leagues during his press briefing later on Saturday. “They’ve got to get back. They can’t do this. Their sports weren’t designed for it. The whole concept of our nation wasn’t designed for it. We have to get back. We want to get back soon.”
Along with Silver, the other sports commissioners involved in the call included Roger Goodell (NFL), Rob Manfred (MLB), Gary Bettman (NHL), Cathy Engelbert (WNBA), Jay Monahan (PGA Tour), Michael Whan (LPGA Tour), Dana White (UFC), Vince McMahon (WWE), Roger Penske (IndyCar), Drew Fleming (Breeders Cup) and Don Garber (MLS), according to the White House.
Silver has tried to stay optimistic about the chances of the league pressing play again on this current season, and the NBA has reportedly beenfor the 2019-20 season. There have been talks of a truncated playoff format, with all games taking place in Las Vegas as a way to limit the amount of travel, and thus slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. There’s a lot of hoops to clear and questions to answer to make that a possibility, but if this season could be salvaged in some way, the NBA would try it.
There’s also a report that the NBA is prepping for the, if it looks like there’s no safe way for games to resume. This doesn’t mean that the season will be canceled, but that the league is preparing for all possible outcomes as the spread of the coronavirus continues to worsen across the United States. The league has billions of dollars on the line, and canceling the remainder of the season isn’t ideal, but if there’s no way to continue playing games in the next couple months, then chances of not having a 2020 NBA champion will grow.