For weeks, the expectation has been that the next NBA season would begin sometime in early 2021. Adam Silver said as much publicly, and there were multiple reports that the league was targeting Martin Luther King Jr. Day as the new opening day. But, in a good reminder that you can’t be too certain of anything these days, the league has suddenly reversed course.
The new plan would see a 72-game season begin a few days before Christmas on Dec. 22, a change that would not only give the NBA the ability to finish the season before the Olympics next summer, but also please the league’s TV partners. Under the revamped schedule, there would not only be 10 fewer games but possibly no All-Star Weekend as well, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
While no final decision has been made on the status of All-Star Weekend, which was set to be in Indianapolis, there are multiple reasons why it would make a lot of sense to scrap the event for this season. For one, not having to block off a week for All-Star festivities would give the schedule makers more flexibility in trying to map out these games.
On top of that, given everything we know about COVID-19, an event like the All-Star Game, where groups of people from all around the country travel to one place, then spend a lot of time together in close quarters before going back to where they came from sounds like pretty much the perfect recipe for spreading this virus. Even assuming the league follows all the proper safety protocols, there’s too much risk there for a glorified exhibition game. Especially considering its unlikely fans would be able to attend, and the whole extravaganza is primarily for them anyway.
Obviously, it would be a bit of a bummer if the event has to be canceled, but considering the circumstances, it’s hard to imagine anyone would be too upset. After all, getting through another season safely is much more important for everyone involved. And besides, the league could still hold All-Star voting and make sure players receive proper recognition for their play in the first half of the season. That way, no one would miss out on potential contract incentives, or historical achievements.