The return of the NBA is just around the corner after the league and players agreed to a regular and playoff format, although there still are other details that need to be sorted out.
All games will take place at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and details of the health and safety regulations inside the “bubble” recently outlined what players will be expected to adhere.
Additionally, with seemingly the entire NBA world committed to using their voices to ending racial injustice and police brutality, the players need to decide if now is the right time to return to the court or if their sole focus should continue to be on the bigger issues at hand.
Both of those concerns, and more, were expressed by Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving in a recent Zoom call amongst players as they search for answers. Los Angeles Lakers teammates Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley were also among those to raise concern to the current return-to-play format.
One player who was notably absent from the call was LeBron James, who has the Lakers as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a legitimate shot to win the championship if play resumes. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, James wasn’t on the call because he believes he can continue to do his social work while also playing basketball:
When nearly 20 percent of the NBA’s players joined a Zoom call on Friday evening to discuss a variety of concerns about the league’s Orlando return that is slated for a mid-July start and a mid-October finish, there was one absence that stood out above the rest: LeBron James.
Because sources say James, whose Lakers have as good a chance at the title as any of the 22 teams invited to Walt Disney World, believes playing in Orlando won’t deter his ability to continue inspiring change.
If the NBA does return on July 30, as remains expected, there’s no denying a ton of people will be watching, so it could serve as a large platform for the players to let their voices be heard.
It is fair for Irving or anyone else to ask questions during this time though given all of the different variables involved. The NBA is allowing any players who are not comfortable going to Orlando to stay home so it will be interesting to see how many of them go that route.
James certainly won’t be one of them, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see someone like Howard, whose baby’s mother recently died from health complications, sit out the rest of the season due to health concerns.