The 49-14 Los Angeles Lakers were one of four teams in the NBA and the only team in the Western Conference to clinch a playoff berth before the league enacted a COVID-19 hiatus on March 12, and LeBron James intends to see the 2019-20 season through.
"Definitely not giving up on the season," James said during an UNINTERRUPTED discussion Monday. "Myself and my teammates, the Lakers organization, we wanna play. There's a lot of players that I know personally that wanna play."
The 35-year-old continued: "I mean, obviously, we don't ever want to jeopardize the health of any of our players, or any of the players' families. This is a pandemic that we have no idea, we can't control it. We're going to listen to the people in the hierarchy that's been following this pandemic, following the numbers, following the data. ... I want to get back to playing."
The Lakers have re-opened their practice facilities:
California Governor Gavin Newsom said earlier Monday that professional sports could resume in the state without fans as early as the first week of June:
These developments were preceded by James and other notable NBA stars holding a private conference call on May 12 while Commissioner Adam Silver reportedly gave the Board of Governors a timetable to decide whether to resume the 2019-20 season:
James had said on two different occasions in March that he wouldn't be in favor of playing without fans:
It seems the three-time NBA champion's desire to finish the season has superseded his original opposition to playing in empty arenas.
James was averaging 25.7 points and 10.6 assists in 34.9 minutes per game across 60 starts.