NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Monday he is confident that the league’s health and safety protocols will allow teams to get through the season even as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Silver spoke on the eve of the season-opening doubleheader — Golden State visiting Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers playing against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers — and warned that he does not expect this season to go as smoothly as the games did last summer in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World.
That said, he added that if the league didn’t believe its plan would work, the season wouldn’t be starting.
“We do anticipate that there will be bumps in the road along the way,” Silver said.
Teams will play a 72-game regular season, down from the customary 82-game slate. The season is starting two months later than usual and the playoffs are set to stretch into July, all with players and coaches being tested daily and with nearly 60 players having already missed some time with their teams during training camp and the preseason because of positive COVID-19 tests.
And as was the case at Disney, social justice initiatives will remain top priorities for the league, Silver said.
“I think there’s also been in a new awakening among the players in the league as to the impact they can have when they use the platforms they have to speak out on issues that are important to them,” Silver said. “So, I think it’s a combination of the collective action that the league will be taking together with its players and coaches, and on top of that players realizing the enormous reach they have with their voices.”
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.