The NBA is in the midst of a gigantic COVID-19 outbreak, with a number of teams getting hit hard and plenty of high-profile players contracting the virus in recent days. Despite this, NBA commissioner Adam Silver appeared on ESPN’s NBA Today on Tuesday afternoon and made clear that the league doesn’t intend on closing up shop for the second time due to the novel coronavirus any time soon.
As Silver explained to Malika Andrews, the NBA’s approach is that COVID is going to be something that is never fully eradicated, and at a certain point, people will have to learn to live with it. Between that and the number of people league-wide who are vaccinated and received a booster shot, Silver is comfortable with trudging forward in the face of rising cases.
— The Recount (@therecount) December 21, 2021
“No plans right now to pause the season,” Silver said. “We’ve of course looked at all the options, but frankly, we’re having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now as we look through these cases literally ripping through this country right now, putting aside the rest of the world. I think we’re finding ourselves where we kind of knew we were going to get to for the past several months, which is this virus will not be eradicated and we’re going to have to learn to live with it.”
The commissioner went on to lay out the league’s current vaccination and case numbers, which includes some good (nearly all players are vaccinated and more than half of players who are eligible have been boosted) and some bad (the omicron variant of the virus has made up nine in ten cases that have popped up recently).
NBA commissioner Adam Silver in ESPN interview
– “No plans right now to pause the season”
– 97% of players vaccinated & 65% w/ boosters
– “Only a very small number” of boosted players have had breakthrough cases
– 90% of recent player positives have been Omicron variant
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) December 21, 2021
silver to @malika_andrews: "about 65%" of booster-eligible players have gotten them, and "a very small number of those people" have had breakthrough cases. (they've been asymptomatic.) "we're also dealing with a large group that have one J&J shot or haven't been boosted yet."
— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) December 21, 2021
Currently, the league intends on playing every game it has scheduled between now and Christmas Day. As for Christmas itself, while a report earlier on Tuesday indicated that the NBA plans on being nimble with regards to teams scheduled to play and COVID outbreaks, all five games are currently slated to go on.