Lakers' LeBron James Talks COVID-19's Impact on NBA on 'Road Trippin'' Podcast

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 26, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) plays in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James spoke about some of the issues facing the NBA if it tries to resume the 2019-20 season later this year. 

Appearing on the Road Trippin' podcast (h/t ESPN's Dave McMenamin), James expressed practical concerns for players going up against someone who was diagnosed with the coronavirus: "So what happens when a guy who is tested positive for corona and you're out there on the floor with him and it's a loose ball?" 

James also addressed the idea of potentially having to play games without fans in the stands:

"What is the word 'sport' without 'fan'? There's no excitement. There's no crying. There's no joy. There's no back-and-forth. There's no rhyme or reason that you want to go on the road and just dethrone the home team because of their fans and vice versa.

"Like, that's what also brings out the competitive side of the players to know that you're going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you're playing against that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans' ass too.

"So, to get back on the floor, I would love it. I'm not going to sit here and say nothing. Like if it's get out there and get back on the floor 5-on-5 ... but like, we can do that in scrimmages. Let's just go to each other's practice facility, put out a camera, just scrimmage and live stream it. But until the fans can come back ... I just don't know how we can imagine a sporting event without fans. It's just, it's a weird dynamic."

One common question that has come up if the NBA is able to resume play this season is what the schedule will look like. 

Commissioner Adam Silver has been noncommittal about anything to this point, only going so far as to tell ESPN's Rachel Nichols the traditional NBA calendar could "possibly" be altered with the 2020-21 season potentially running from December-August instead of the traditional October-June. 

James said if the league plays again this season, jumping right into the playoffs wouldn't be a good idea "because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position."

The four-time NBA MVP suggested a regular-season schedule of five to 10 games before starting the postseason. 

While no official timeframe has been established, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that the "loosest" end date to complete the NBA Finals is Labor Day weekend, with some teams saying games would have to resume no later than July 1. 

At the time the season was suspended, the Lakers had won 11 of their last 13 games and owned the best record in the Western Conference (49-14). 

 

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