Since the NBA indefinitely suspended its season last month, LeBron James hasn’t shied away from expressing his opinions on the rumors surrounding the league’s potential return. When it was first reported that the NBA would likely have to resume its games without fans in attendance, the Los Angeles Lakers star wasn’t thrilled, saying that there’s “no joy” in playing basketball without fans.
While James’ stance probably hasn’t changed in just a matter of weeks, he sent out a tweet on Thursday that suggests he wants to finish the season by any means necessary:
Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true. Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything.— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 30, 2020
The report James is referred to in his tweet comes from Jabari Young of CNBC, who, on Thursday, reported that people around the league are pushing for the cancellation of the season:
Team executives are starting to feel the pressure, frustrated with the lack of information from the league and pushing for an outright cancellation of the season so everyone can focus on safely resuming play next season.
NBA team executives and players’ agents spoke to CNBC in recent weeks about the challenges in resuming play. They said team owners are concerned with liability issues and are conflicted about whether or not to give up on the current season. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity as they aren’t authorized to discuss league matters publicly.
For James, the good news is that his public support probably moves the needle for the league than anything executives and agents are saying anonymously, or behind the scenes. The bad news is that it’s not solely up to the NBA whether or not games are played again this year.
Before the NBA starts putting forth their plane to resume its season, a path needs to be outlined that ensures that both players and team staff won’t be putting themselves at high risk of contracting COVID-19, or the coronavirus. As a country, we’re just not there yet with the pandemic, and there’s still no telling when we will be.
If there’s anything to take from this, it’s that players like James may be willing to play the long game so that the 60 or so games they played in the regular season weren’t for nothing. During a time where good news is hard to come by, that type of attitude is encouraging.