he NBA season is finally over, and after nearly a year long season, the Los Angeles Lakers have been crowned 2020 Champions. For those who can remember all the way back to when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and subsequently halted all professional sports , basketball, hockey, and baseball seasons were all at risk of being completely cancelled. There was of course a hiatus from sports, which allowed leagues to figure out how they would approach finishing. NBA commissioner Adam Silver, with help from Disney, created the first 'bubble' for a league to finish its games.
Adam Silver was of course somewhat worrisome about the entire situation and speculated downfall. Questions like, how can we keep the players safe from the public? Is this a viable option? Do we have the manpower to see this all the way through? These questions were all brought up when it was proposed. However, after putting in place every possible safety precaution that could ever be thought of, the NBA league and its commissioner proved everyone wrong.
It was thought that having athletes that play a sport that revolves around extremely close play would result in high COVID contractions or at minimum, increase the chances of athletes contracting the virus. To prevent this as a possibility, the NBA enforced mandatory testing for all members of the staff and team on a daily basis. On top of that, teams were only allowed to socialize with their respective team and were allocated certain areas that they could move around. Although it may seem somewhat restrictive and harsh, it paid dividends in the end. When everything was said and done, the NBA had no positive COVID-19 tests. Compared to the climbing numbers that the MLB and NFL are currently seeing speaks volumes on the attention to health and safety surrounding the NBA.
Addressing Social Injustice
In a brilliant move, the NBA allowed players in the bubble to put slogans on the back of their jersey that exemplified a social injustice or a call for action. This helped address many players concern about being able to help protest and shed light on the constant racial tension and murders. Although this may not have directly solved the issue, it keeps the conversation from being extinguished and allows to see how important the issue truly is.
Emerging New Stars
Much to many viewers surprise, some less celebrated NBA players used the bubble experience for all that it could offer. With a lack of fans in the stands, the heckling was minimized to echoing of music and players voices. Where most young and inexperienced players would crumble under the pressure and criticism of fans yelling, the lack of dialogue helped improve some players confidence and allowed them to play past full potential.
Players like TJ Warren of the Indian Pacers and the entire Phoenix Suns roster played exceptionally above their averages and frankly, beyond their expectations. This of course could have been an aberration for some, but for others, could have been the confidence booster that they needed to play to their full ability. The upcoming season will be the greatest indicator or this.
The Future of Sport
Of course as fans, we would love to be able to re-renter the arenas and cheer for our favorite teams no matter the sport. Unfortunately, the world's population is constantly growing at such a rapid rate that the possibility of new disease and virus' is inevitable. The success of the NBA bubble gives us some hope that if a pandemic does happen again, there is at least a blueprint for sports to remain in our lives.
Adam Silver and the NBA proved why their cohesiveness and organization is unmatched once again. In a world of such uncertainty and turmoil, the NBA bubble was the glimmer of hope that many needed.