As the COVID vaccine continues to roll out, the country moves ever so closer to something resembling normalcy. But, to be certain, it’s a slow and deliberate process, and it could be significant time before we can go back to attending gatherings of multiple people safely.
Despite the continued precaution required, the NBA has remained adamant about holding its annual All-Star Game in Atlanta next month. Multiple star players have publicly expressed concerns over health and safety, especially considering the number of games that have already been postponed this season, combine with time lost from players who have been held out because of contact tracing.
As the league has pressed forward, commissioner Adam Silver has stuck to his belief that the sort of mini-bubble that would be created in Atlanta for the game would actually be safer than players using their time off during the mid-season break to travel to different locales across the country. On Thursday, he took that sentiment a step further during an appearance on The Jump:
“There were obviously those who thought we shouldn’t play without fans, thought we shouldn’t play in the bubble, thought we shouldn’t be playing in a very serious way because of the social justice issues roiling this country,” Silver said. “So I certainly hear the other side of this issue here.
“And I’ll lastly say it seems like no decisions during this pandemic come without uncertainty and come without risk. This is yet another one of them, and yet it’s my job to balance all those interests, and ultimately, it feels like the right thing to do to go forward.”
Silver has faced significant criticism for his stance, and that’s not likely to go away between now and then. The league has certainly been in a difficult position since the pandemic started, and continuing play has come with many challenges. Though the All-Star Game seems very low on the list of priorities, it’s also a huge revenue stream, a reality that obviously has factored into this decision.
Until the world finally gets back to normal, the league will continue to face tough decisions about how to move forward while trying to balance the safety of its players.