Despite the health and safety concerns of restarting an NBA season during a global pandemic, the league’s Walt Disney World “bubble” arrangement appeared to be headed to its late-July restart in Orlando.
But in recent days, there has been growing reluctance from prominent NBA players to go back to playing basketball as the nation simultaneously protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Kyrie Irving, for example, participated in a Friday players call and voiced his disapproval for the Orlando restart.
Even as more players supported Irving’s sentiment, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley tweeted on Sunday that the fate of the NBA season will all come down to LeBron James.
Beverley said that if LeBron decided that he wanted to play, the rest of the 22 teams invited to Orlando (and the players) would follow suit. According to Beverley, the business of basketball will ultimately be the driving force.
And with LeBron being the game’s biggest star, he’ll have the most say in the matter.
The concern from Irving, Dwight Howard and others was that playing basketball will distract from the message of the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests and offer an outlet for people to move on and ignore the serious issues facing the country.
But a cancelled season would also have major implications on the CBA — and allow the owners to tear it up — so, as Beverley said, look for business to be the deciding factor.