Prior to the NBA suspending operations amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Los Angeles Lakers held the Western Conference’s best record at 49-14.
This also came after a weekend in which the Lakers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks and L.A. Clippers in back-to-back games. LeBron James led the charge, playing incredible basketball at the time of the hiatus.
Although Giannis Antetokounmpo had been the clear cut MVP all season, James was beginning to insert himself into the conversation with the way he transformed the Lakers on the court. During the hiatus, he remained a leader by safely organizing workouts with teammates before the practice facility opened.
As the NBA works to map out a plan for its return, James reiterated his strong desire for getting back onto the court, via Uninterrupted’s “After Party“:
“Definitely not giving up on the season. Myself and my teammates, the Lakers organization, we want to play. There’s a lot of players I know personally that want to play. Obviously, we don’t ever want to jeopardize the health of any of our players or their families and so on and so on. This is a pandemic that we can’t control. We’re going to listen to the people that have been following the data and everything that goes on, but we’ve been seeing a lot of sporting events: UFC, soccer, we’re hearing baseball is about to get going in a little bit.
“I want to get back to playing. I love playing the game of basketball. I know how inspiring the game of basketball is, I know how inspiring sports are itself. As soon as possible, when we can get back out there, we would love to bring the game of basketball back to our fans. As a fan myself, I know we all miss it.”
As much as James wants the NBA to return, fans are clamoring for it equally. Lakers fans in particular were excited to have a team back in the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
It’s looking more and more like the NBA will be able to return via a bubble concept in Orlando, Fla., although a finalized decision has not been made yet. As for a potential date, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly informed the Board of Governors the target is July 31.