kyrie irving
Photo Credit: Cavaliers Nation

Kyrie Irving Sounds Off Against Returning to Play in 2020


When the NBA announced last week that it was back, the basketball world rejoiced. Gone are the days of fans watching games from years ago to get their NBA fix.


The league has been on hiatus since March 11th, and no one knew for sure if the 2019-20 season would resume. Las Vegas was considered an option as the location to finish the season, but ultimately the league decided on Orlando and DisneyHow did the NBA arrive at that decision?


Photo Credit: Cavaliers Nation

Chris Paul, LeBron James, and other prominent figures within the NBA player hierarchy reached out to their peers via Zoom and created a rallying cry to resume the season. Commissioner Adam Silver was on the fence for weeks about how, when, and if things would get going again. The collective voices of his best players calling for a restart was a significant catalyst in the decision to have all 22 teams head to Orlando and compete for an NBA championship. 


While everyone thought there was a consensus to get the league back on track, reports have surfaced that say otherwise. Kyrie Irving, the Vice President of the NBAPA, held his own Zoom meetings. Some 80 players were in attendance when Irving spoke, and his message was that the NBA should seriously consider not going forward with the bubble in Orlando. 


Irving’s opinion is vastly unpopular, but his concerns are valid.


Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

The Covid-19 pandemic is still very real. Over 20 states have seen recent spikes, including Florida, where the games would take place. Arizona, for example, has been forced to implement emergency protocols within their hospital systems because 78% of their ICU beds are in use. Since Memorial Day, a dozen states have seen hospitalizations increase because of the virus, most of which opened early.  

Coronavirus isn’t the only thing causing doubts with some players; there’s also a racial epidemic going on in the country. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin, has united the country and world like never before. Many NBA players have been fully invested in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and they feel the momentum of that cause could be slowed if they enter the NBA’s quarantine for up to 3 months. 


Other doubts have arisen as well. Some players are afraid to voice their concerns about returning to play due to peer pressure, while others don’t like the idea of being away from their families for an extended amount of time.


Photo Credit: CBS Sports

The NBA has flat out said that if players don’t want to play, they don’t have to. It’s not mandatory, and if they aren’t in Orlando, the worst thing that will happen is the player(s) will be docked some of their pay. 

It would be nice if everyone were on board and gung-ho about the NBA restarting play. Still, it’s only natural that there are doubts and detractors, especially in today’s climate where a pandemic is running rampant and social injustice is being fought on all fronts. 


All this tells me is that we need the NBA to resume more than ever. Not just for the distraction it would bring for the fans, but also so black athletes can use their platforms to push for the change and the reform this country needs in its police forces.


And as long as the bubble is safe for these players, it’s time to crown an NBA champion, too.

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-Jeff Waddilove – Franchise Sports Media


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