NBA is back?

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (39) before a game at Staples Center on Friday January 3, 2020. (Photo by Jevone Moore

The NBA is back. The league is now scheduled to resume starting July 30th at the ESPN Wide World of sports complex located at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. However, the return will look considerably different to what we’re normally accustomed to.

Commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s board of governors have decided to bring back 22 out of the 30 teams. This includes each of the teams with the eight best records from each conference as well as any team that was sitting within 6 games of the 8th seed, equaling 13 squads from the west and just 9 teams from the East.

The playoff + format looks to be extremely intriguing. The hottest thing to watch will be the race for the 8th seed in the western conference. Because the association found a way to resurrect a surplus amount of teams back into contention, we will get to see some of the league’s brightest stars of today and tomorrow back on the court including Zion Williamson, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker and De’aaron Fox. Each one the players reside on teams who are racing to clinch the final playoff spot. The Grizzlies, Pelicans and Blazers have the best shots to get in the postseason while the Suns, Kings, and Spurs are on the outside looking in.

Jump ball to start the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball game at Staples Center on Tuesday January 14, 2020. (Photo by Jevone Moore

With Adam Silver being one of the best commissioners in all of sports, I think he found one of the best possible ways to come back. If only the 16 teams currently holding a playoff spot would have been selected, we would have ultimately left out contending teams who’ve shown promise from the entire regular season, as well as the high-flyers, clutch guards and young ascending talent that help comprise today’s NBA.

Now it remains to be seen if the plan follows through due to the concerns of COVID-19 and current state of racial injustice in America. Players like Kyrie Irving, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley have expressed sentiments about how a return might hinder the movement. I believe a return will do the exact opposite in fact. For many people, the degree of uncertainty to which 2020 has brought has undoubtedly given us all feelings of uneasiness.

Watching NBA Basketball could provide an escape for a country going so much turmoil while at the same time bringing the necessary attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. The games and events could be utilized as a positive platform to make statements towards government officials, particular individuals and impact the nation as whole.