If the NBA returns to finish the season and playoffs this summer, those first games will likely be without fans. (The NBA may bring all the teams to one location, maybe Las Vegas, where the games can take place in a more controlled venue, with less travel and risk of exposure. It’s one of many scenarios under consideration.)
When fans do get back into the games this year, should the league set up a system to check the temperature of everyone entering the building?
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said it was possible, during an appearance on CNBC.
“It’s not hard to use thermal guns to take someone’s temperature and look for fevers. Is it feasible? Yes, absolutely. We have to be very cautious, particularly as we try to come back. At first we’ll play a lot of games without fans and figure it out with all the medicines that become available, we’ll go from there.”
The thermal gun technology was used on a larger scale in China and South Korea, among other places, to identify people starting to show symptoms of the disease.
Cuban is both an optimist — he thinks there could be NBA games in May — and a believer in technology, so him taking this position makes sense. Even if this seems like a longshot.
Whether the NBA would set up something like this would depend largely on both the willingness to pay for it and where the nation is in dealing with this pandemic. The bigger questions of when the NBA will return and in what form remains up in the air right now, those need to be answered first before everyone gets into the details.
In a world where everything is on the table, thermal guns for temperature taking at the gate — like walking through a metal detector — is possible. It’s been too unpredictable a year to rule anything out.
If the NBA gets its way, every NBA team will go through a multi-week mini-training camp then play a handful of regular season games when play starts up again. Then they will jump to the playoffs.
If the league will be able to work on that timeline — or even play games at all — remains to be seen, but they have a backer in LeBron James.
“One thing you can’t just do is go straight to the playoffs… it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position.”
The NBA agrees with LeBron, but depending on the timing of when games can start up again there may be no choice but to jump right into the postseason. LeBron also said he couldn’t imagine a game played without fans, but he understands that could be happening.
LeBron also joked (kind of) there is no way he’s high fiving ever again.
“I ain’t high-fiving nobody for the rest of my life after this s***. No more high-fiving. After this corona s***? Wait ’til you see me and my teammates’ handshakes after this s***.”
ASSOCIATED PRESS — Rafael Nadal and Pau Gasol have launched a campaign to encourage donations in the hope of raising 11 million euros ($12.1 million) to help Spain fight the coronavirus.
The tennis and basketball stars said in videos posted on social media that they are supporting a Red Cross fundraising effort to help with the public health crisis.
Mi donación y la de @RafaelNadal ya están en camino. ¿Te unes?
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) March 26, 2020
Nadal and Gasol say they have made donations and urged others to follow their lead. Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas quickly said he would pitch in.
Nadal says “I believe that we are who we are in large part thanks to your support and now we have to be there for you.”
Spain has 56,188 infections and more than 4,000 fatalities from the virus.
Other sports celebrities and franchises have pitched in to help pas well.
Real Madrid and Spanish sports authorities say the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium will be used to store donations of medical supplies to help combat the coronavirus outbreak. The soccer club says it will use the stadium to store private donations. They will then be distributed by government authorities to hospitals.
Gasol signed last summer with Portland but due to injuries never set foot on the court for them. In November he was waived and he has not latched on with another team yet, he has simply worked to get healthy.
Kentucky coach John Calipari, via Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog:
“Guys that have a decision to make, whether they want to stay in the draft or not, the NBA is saying, ‘We’re keeping our date the same.’ OK, well what about the Combine? That is going to move, we believe. Well, what about the draft date? That will move,” Calipari said Tuesday on a conference call.
Several NBA league sources also said they believe the Draft will ultimately be pushed to July or August.
Do Calipari and Zagoria’s sources know something? Or are they just guessing?
So much around the world is getting delayed. It’s easy to predict the NBA draft will follow. This wouldn’t be the first time a college coach’s mere prediction sounds like it might be backed by private information.
But if the NBA is considering postponing the draft, people would have to know so arrangements could be made. It wouldn’t be surprising if word got to Calipari.
The NBA could easily hold its draft while games are suspended. The season is complete enough to determine draft order, perhaps with a revised lottery system. Sports fans are starving for content. People would watch a draft telecast en masse. It’d be a way for the NBA, eager to reenter the market, to generate revenue.
As long as social distancing remains mandated, the draft would have to occur remotely. Drafted players wouldn’t get to shake Adam Silver’s hand (or even fist bump him).
But the draft is an anti-labor mechanism that labor should stop celebrating, anyway.
Fred “Curly” Neal, the legendary Harlem Globetrotter ball-handler and guy draining logo shots before it became an NBA trend, has passed away at the age of 77, the team has confirmed.
Fred “Curly” Neal – the Harlem Globetrotters icon known worldwide for his trademark shaved head and charismatic smile – passed away this morning in his home outside of Houston at the age of 77. pic.twitter.com/JdZa6zTvZU
— Harlem Globetrotters (@Globies) March 26, 2020
Neal had been battling the effects of a stroke in recent years.
Neal had his jersey retired by the Globetrotters back in 2008, and it hangs in the rafters at Madison Square Garden. (The other four Globetrotters with their numbers retired are Wilt Chamberlain, Marques Haynes, Meadowlark Lemon, and Goose Tatum.)
In the 1970s and ’80s, the Globetrotters — led by Lemon, Neal, and Tatum — were huge draws, both in arenas around the nation and on television. It’s difficult to overstate how popular they were. When I was in third or fourth grade, my youth basketball team went and saw them at a sold-out Forum in Los Angeles, the same building the Showtime Lakers were filling.
Neal’s ballhandling and showmanship influenced a generation.
For those who say the game has evolved? I say what’s old is new again! Distance Shot making and dribbling is back!! #CurlyNeal and #MarcusHaynes taught me how to dribble #Globetrotters https://t.co/c1C2I7534g
— Isiah Thomas (@IsiahThomas) March 26, 2020
In the 70s, Curly Neal and the Harlem Globetrotters were goddamn basketball superheroes. pic.twitter.com/3gKEABPzua
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) February 9, 2020
Neal played for the Globetrotters from 1963 to 1985, competing in more than 6,000 games in 97 different countries. At that peak of popularity, the Globetrotters often appeared television shows and even had their own Saturday morning cartoon series (plus “guested” with Scooby-Doo and others).
“We have lost one of the most genuine human beings the world has ever known,” current Globetrotters GM Jeff Munn said in a released statement. “Curly’s basketball skill was unrivaled by most, and his warm heart and huge smile brought joy to families worldwide. He always made time for his many fans and inspired millions.”
Our thoughts are with the Neal family and his friends.