TBT The Basketball Tournament
Courtesy: The Basketball Tournament

TBT Providing Fans Some Basketball Relief in The Summer of 2020



We are all currently living in times of uncertainty, thanks to the coronavirus. This global pandemic has put a hold on many things, including sports. However, major professional sports are slowly making their way back into action. One of those being basketball and the NBA.


As of this writing, the 22 NBA invited teams have arrived in Orlando for their bubble inside Walt Disney World. So far, we’ve only seen some full-court layouts and what the meals look like for the players in the bubble.

The NBA returns at the end of the month on July 30, with a double-header of the Utah Jazz against the New Orleans Pelicans, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Association is looking to get things restarted with a bang as both games provide some exciting storylines.


TBT The Basketball Tournament
Courtesy: USA Today’s FTW

All eyes are on Utah due to Rudy Gobert being the first player diagnosed with COVID-19, which led to the closing of the league. His positive test started the domino effect of other major professional leagues coming to a halt. Gobert then passed on the virus to Donovan Mitchell, causing a rift between the two teammates, which is something the public will be looking at as far as their chemistry.

On the other end, New Orleans is a young and exciting team that many are excited to watch as Zion Williamson and the Pelicans are looking to make a playoff push. I believe the Pelicans are the reason why the NBA chose to invite 22 teams, instead of the 16 that were already in the playoff picture. It’s no secret that the NBA is looking to cash in on the phenomenon that is Williamson, as they are looking to squeeze as many games as possible out of his rookie season.


In the other match-up, it is a possible preview of the Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and Clippers, the two top teams in the conference. The Lakers have been in the headlines in the past couple of weeks after Avery Bradley decided not to join the team in Orlando, and the team signed JR Smith as his replacement. A few days later, Dwight Howard announced that he would be joining the team after being uncertain about the decision for a myriad of valid reasons. As for the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard did not travel with the team but will be joining them later, after dealing with a family matter.

Before the season resumes, all 22 teams will play in a series of three scrimmage games against various teams in the bubble. The teams will play against squads that are either in the other conference or a team that is not a scheduled opponent for the rest of their eight regular-season games. Those scrimmages will take place between July 22-28.


In the meantime, before the NBA comes back, there is another semi-professional basketball league that is actually already back and playing games. The Basketball Tournament (TBT) is active and providing the first organized professional basketball in the United States since the Coronavirus. As someone who’s favorite sport is basketball, TBT is helping me with my basketball withdrawals.


For those who do not know what TBT is, it a single-elimination tournament with a $2 million purse. Teams are comprised of ballplayers who might have spent some time in the NBA but mostly play professionally overseas these days. Some clubs provide for a sweet reunion between former college teammates, as they form university alumni teams like Stillwater Stars (Oklahoma State), Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse), and Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State).


TBT The Basketball Tournament
Courtesy: Herald and Review

I am a huge basketball fan that follows guys from high school to the NBA. There are a lot of hoopers, but there are unfortunately not a lot of roster spots in the league. Every year, I see many great college players disappear from the public eye as their careers take them to Europe or Asia, and I often wonder whatever happened to those guys as the years passed. This tournament allows me to see a lot of those guys play again and provide some entertainment at the same time.

Like every other league, TBT was not sure if they were going to have any games this year due to the coronavirus. But the league put together a bubble of their own in Indianapolis, where everyone was confined to their hotel rooms and subject to COVID testing. In this year’s edition of the tournament, the bracket decreased to fewer teams, and the winning team will now take home only $1 million. Teams that have a player test positive are automatically disqualified from the tournament and must leave the bubble.


The tournament started on the 4th of July and is set to conclude on Tuesday, July 14. The quarterfinals will begin on Friday, July 10, with the following games: Golden Eagles (Marquette Alumni) vs. Team Brotherly Love (hoopers from Philadelphia), and Red Scare (Dayton alumni) vs. House of ‘Paign (Illinois alumni). The other set of the quarterfinals is on the following day featuring Boeheim’s Army vs. Sideline Cancer, and another game with the teams to be determined.


If you are like me and miss watching some live action basketball, check out TBT. All of their games are airing on ESPN.


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Isaiah Torres

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24

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