Commissioners from a number of major American sports leagues held a conference call on Saturday with President Donald Trump as part of the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those on the call was NBA commissioner Adam Silver, according to the president’s daily agenda, and per a report by ESPN, Silver expressed a desire for leagues to play a roll in one of Trump’s main priorities at one point or another: restarting the American economy.
The president had previously said his hope was to begin getting Americans back to work by Easter Sunday, which was eventually scrapped. But at some point in the future that we just do not know, Americans will be able to get back to work, and when they do, Silver wants leagues to be at the forefront.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver told those on the call that the leagues were the first to shut down and that they would love to lead the way in starting the economy once there was an “all clear” from public health officials, sources familiar with the call told ESPN.
It is unclear exactly what Silver would mean by restarting the economy beyond putting on games, which would lead to workers for the teams/stadiums and broadcast partners getting back into the swing of things. Later in the day on Saturday, Trump held a press conference in which he said leagues “gotta get back.”
Trump on sports leagues: "They gotta get back. They can't do this." He says they weren't designed to be shut down.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) April 4, 2020
Of course, while leagues do need to get back, as Silver apparently told Trump, that has to occur with the blessing of public health officials, something that could take an awfully long time. In fact, while Trump reportedly said on the call that he believes the NFL should be good to play games by September, public health experts told the Washington Post that it’s far too early into this process to predict anything regarding when we’ll be able to see games played again.
This also does not necessarily mean that this NBA season is salvageable. Brian Windhorst of ESPN brought word that there’s mounting pessimism in talks between the league and the NBPA about being able to restart this season, with the Chinese Basketball Association’s struggles to relaunch its league and the potential that picking this campaign back up can impact 2020-21 as major factors.