NBA Players 'Really Want to Play' Amid COVID-19, Says NBPA's Michele Roberts

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2020

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 6: NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts speaks to the crowd as she takes part in the 2019 NBA Finals Cares Legacy Project as part of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 6, 2019 at the Ira Jinkins Recreation Center in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Dow/Getty Images

National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said players "really want to play" in order to finish the 2019-20 NBA season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Roberts told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne in an interview released Tuesday the union is eagerly awaiting further details about the league's plans to move forward.

"It's time. It's time," Roberts said. "It's been two-and-a-half months of, 'What if?' My players need some level of certainty. I think everybody does."

She added: "Let's just get it out there because our guys need to know. Certainty will be good. But the players really want to play."

Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported last week the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida, had become the "clear front-runner" to host games when the league restarts, which could include training camps in mid-June and games by mid-July.

Roberts told Shelburne the players are prepared to fast track any proposal from the NBA so games can resume, barring any unforeseen issues with the finalized plan.

"If we thought we needed a vote, we would. If we're ratifying a CBA, we need a vote," she said. "But our preferred method is talking to people or just having them talk to us. Then if we get a sense of what the sentiment is, then we can move forward. We talk to our players and figure it out."

She noted the "overwhelming" feedback so far has been in favor of resuming the campaign.

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ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the NBA Board of Governors are expected to meet virtually Friday and that the gathering could lead to a more concrete path forward, with teams potentially recalling players as early as next Monday.

The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James is among the players who've urged a return to play:

Many organizations, including the Lakers, have reopened their team facilities for individual workouts.

L.A. owned the best record in the Western Conference at 49-14 when play was halted March 11. The Milwaukee Bucks led the East with an NBA-best 53-12 mark.

It's unclear whether the NBA will move forward with the regular season, which had between 15 and 20 games left depending on the team, or move straight into the playoffs.


Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.

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