NBA stars have joined together in a phone hook up which has thrown the NBA’s return for the remainder of the 2019/20 season into chaos.
The NBA’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team format for the return of the league at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando with all players to be tested daily for COVID-19 and needing to abide by social distancing protocols and playing in empty stadiums.
The National Basketball Players’ Association ratified it the following day and the league was heading for a July 31 return.
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But with the coronavirus crisis continuing in the US and protests over the death of George Floyd and for social justice reforms, a group of more than 80 of the leagues biggest names — including players association vice-president Kryie Irving, NBPA president Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Donovan Mitchell to name a few reportedly discussed concerns amid the current climate.
The story was reported by The Athletic‘s Shams Charania who reported Irving said “I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform)”.
Kyrie Irving on players call Friday, per sources: “I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform)."
The Brooklyn Nets guard who was ruled out for the season after a shoulder injury required surgery earlier in the year.
While Irving said he was against the Orlando plan, he said he would stand with the group if they decided to play.
The group also had concerns over the safety of the proposed NBA “bubble” in Orlando, potential injuries after so long off away from the game, staying united as players and to be prepared for a financial hit if the players decided not to take the court.
It’s a powerful message from one of the NBA’s biggest names.Source:Getty Images
There was also some issues with the players reportedly upset about not having a league-wide vote over a potential restart of the season.
ESPN has reported the league has come out and said that players are not required to participate in the season resumption if they don’t want to and would not be disciplined for the choice, although they would lose a portion of their salary.
One player told ESPN that Irving’s sentiments were productive and appreciated.
“He’s trying to give players a platform to be able to have a discussion — on the bubble, racial equality and unity. … It’s a good call,” the player said.
While personal safety issues were under discussion by the players, Yahoo reported some players are concerned about health hazards amid the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the league to halt the season on March 11.
NBA players including Russel Westbrook have been marching in protests.Source:AP
The racial unrest following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month has added to players’ discontent.
“What message are we sending by agreeing to this during this time?” one black player told Yahoo Sports, Reuters reported.
“We’re out here marching and protesting, and yet we all leave our families in these scary times and gather to perform at a place where the owners won’t be at? What type of sense does that make? We’ll be going backwards.”
Other players, including Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, have said they don’t have enough information about how the NBA plans to keep the Disney site safe for players.
The Yahoo report added that while the player representatives have the duty to gain input from each player on their team, some players “haven’t made themselves available for calls or Zoom chats with their respective board reps.”
— with Reuters
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