As the NBA continues to push towards its return in July, a lot of different factors remain at play. An ongoing concern has been regarding coaches and particularly, those who are older and would be more at risk should a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak occur on the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando, Florida.
Those 65 years of age and older are more at-risk if exposed to COVID-19, and the health and safety of everyone involved is the utmost priority to the NBA as a whole. But with many coaches in that age range, including the likes of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Lionel Hollins, some are concerned they won’t be allowed to do their jobs properly in Orlando because of those fears.
The NBA Coaches Association recently spoke on this point, releasing a statement to Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN, noting their concerns for certain coaches being able to secure jobs in the future because they are older:
“The health and safety of all NBA coaches is our main concern,” the NBCA told ESPN in a statement. “However, we are also concerned with a coach’s opportunity to work and to not have their ability to secure future jobs be severely jeopardized. The league assured us that a coach will not be excluded solely because of age.
The NBCA’s statement continued, believing that the league has created a safe environment and only those coaches who pose significant threats of harm to themselves will be removed from Orlando:
“We feel the medical review process is designed to flag only those individuals who pose significant threats of substantial harm to themselves that cannot be reduced or eliminated by the NBA’s considerable steps to create a healthy and safe atmosphere in Orlando. Adam (Silver) and the NBA have created a situation in Orlando that is likely far safer than in our coaches’ home markets. Absent a significant threat, we believe a coach should be able to understand and assume their individual risks, waive liability, and coach in Orlando.”
That concern is a very real and legit one. These coaches want to be able to do their jobs and not be held back because they are older. Someone like Hollins plays a big role for the Lakers on the bench and wants the chance to help them win a championship.
The NBA wants to make the safest environment possible for everyone, but there can’t be any sort of discrimination towards coaches who are older. By all accounts, the league has no intentions of doing that which should clear the way for all coaches who are in no danger to do their jobs like normal.