A Hoopers Dream: Opportunities Amid COVID-19
The NBA is the most watched sports league in the US, with an average viewership of more than 15 million people. The league is one of the few that still generates more revenue from basketball-related products than it does from television contracts. Fans have more of a connection to the game because they are able to watch the players play more often, and they are able to see the game live.
So how is COVID effecting the NBA? It is not. The NBA and COVID has crossed its bridge in 2020, when they created the NBA Bubble at ESPN World Wide of Sports in Orlando, FL. But even in the 2021-2022 season COVID cannot defeat the NBA. The NBA and NBPA has created guidelines not only to help the league, but is helping players from the g-league, oversees, and veterans return to the league.
NBA teams are calling players up from the g-league as well as veteran players to fill out roster spots for regular season games. More than 100 players have been signed due to the new hardship allowance. Since the recent outbreak of the new covid-19 strand (omicron), there has been an unforeseeable amount of players out in the NBA. Even those with the vaccination and booster shot are still struggling to stay healthy enough to play. Notable players that are currently out due to health and safety protocols: Alex Curuso (Chicago Bulls), Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers), Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat),T.J Warren (Indiana Pacers) and even Coach Nate McMillan of the Atlanta Hawks.
The NBA has had to postpone many games due to low amounts of players available to play. During the week of Christmas, the NBA postponed 5 games due to the high spike in COVID-19 cases that sweep the league.Teams are required to have 8 players dressed to play. The league along with the NBPA decided to change guidelines to help lower the amount of postponed games. They removed the limit for two way players, add replacement players from each covid case, these guidelines are active until Jan 19. Some well known players on these replacement contracts are Mario Chalmers, Lance Stephenson, and Jordan Bell.
Mario Chalmers is an NBA veteran. He is most known for his Championship Win with the Miami Heat alongside Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. He is no stranger to the Heat as he averages 8.8 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals from 2008-2015 along with two championship.The Miami Heat has recently called him back on a 10-day contract after he decided to go play overseas and overcame an injury.
Lance Stephenson is a familiar name to NBA fans. He is currently on a 10-day contract with the Indiana Pacers. On Jan 6, he showed why he deserved it, he scored 20 point in just 1 quarter for the Pacers. He previously played with several other teams within the NBA. He is currently averaging 5.8 points, 2.3 rebound, and 2.3 ast per game.
Jordan Bell is a player for the Santa Cruz Warriors, the NBA g-league team. He averaged 10.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.11 steals , and 1.56 blocks per game. He has had some experience playing with the sister team, Golden State Warriors. Due to Covid sweeping the NBA, he was called up by the Chicago Bulls on a 10-day contract.
Hopefully by then, Covid Cases in the league hit a decline. Although, this has created great playtime and top stage action for many players that have been fighting for a spot on the big team. Players in the g-league are being called up as well. It is such bitter sweet moment for these athletes as it creates opportunity for players, but only at the cost of NBA players catching covid.