Lead the Way, NBA: Professional basketball led us into this; now it’s time to lead us out

Oct 11, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during the trophy presentation after game six of the 2020 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat at AdventHealth Arena. The Los Angeles Lakers won 106-93 to win the series. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There were rumblings. Tough to say who took what seriously. There was this “Coronavirus” thing – apparently pretty serious, some thought. Some didn’t though. Back in February, nobody – and I mean nobody – knew or thought or did the same thing when it came to COVID-19 (feels like we didn’t even start calling it that until sometime after March).

And because there was no such thing as a consistent thought or concrete knowledge, there was also no such thing as a cohesive strategy. Joe Biden wears a mask now, but he wasn’t then. And who could blame him? Masks were a great idea; then they weren’t. Then they definitely were. And while masks are now supposedly the most effective weapon against the spread of COVID-19, the spread of COVID-19 is now as bad as it was before we ever spoke of “droplets” or “social distancing.” Blame Donald Trump – or don’t (this truly isn’t a political rant) – but back before the world came crashing down, the fact of the matter is that nobody but nobody acted in a consistent, singular fashion.

Until the NBA did.

And once that happened – right or wrong – the rest of the country followed suit.

Serious question: Regardless of your political view, or what you believe to be true now, what did you think of the Coronavirus before March 11 – the day that Utah Jazz center Rudy Golbert tested positive for COVID-19, and, naturally, the National Basketball Association put a halt to any and all games?

Or perhaps another way to ask it: Did you think about it at all?

Post Malone or the folks who run Pepsi Center (now Ball Arena, ironically the home of an NBA team), weren’t overly concerned, as the artist’s March 12th concert took place without a hitch.

The Colorado High School Activities Association was forced to discontinue the annual state basketball tournament just one day after the NBA stopped play. Some teams had even already advanced to the state semi-finals.

It took Denver Mayor Michael Hancock about two weeks to follow the NBA’s lead, as he shut down the city on March 23rd (it took about 30 minutes after that, however, to decide that liquor stores and recreational marijuana shops need not be part of the shutdown – but that’s not here nor there).

The point is, once the NBA did it, everyone did it – at least to some extent.

Before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took action, however, nobody – blue or red, national or local – did much.

And yesterday, Adam Silver and the NBA sent out a memo outlining a plan that will include fans for the upcoming 2020 (barely)-21 season. The plan, which includes measures such as game-day testing for fans sitting within 30-feet, masks and symptom surveys, is almost irrelevant – after all, every team must abide by its own city or state mandates (forget about last call, can the Nuggets wrap things up before 10 p.m.? Friday night overtime is strongly discouraged in Denver, you know).

Here’s an idea: Let the NBA do whatever the NBA thinks it should do.

Sure, that sounds extreme; the NBA shouldn’t be running the country, should it? But if you really think about it, what place in the United States of America was the absolute safest place to be from July 30 to October 11?

The Bubble, of course.

While Major League Baseball had outbreaks galore, and it was too early to care for the NFL, the NBA had already figured it out: Zero cases in the Bubble. Not one. Zilch. Nada.

“But all bubbles have a way of bursting or being deflated in the end,” said Barry Gibb of Bee Gees fame.

Knowing that we – you, me, the NBA, the US-of-A – cannot live in a bubble forever more – no matter how safe and secure – why not turn to the only institution in America that had the guts to take a first step?

The NBA led us into all of this. Why not follow it right out?

Does Adam Silver know more than Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Doctor Fauchi or Dr. J?

Who knows?

You don’t. I don’t.

But at one point, Silver was the only man in America who boldly said, “Here’s how this is gonna go.”

And we went.

Perhaps local authorities should defer to the NBA once again. Perhaps it’s time to let Silver and the Association lead us out of this mess, one basketball game at a time.

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