The NBA wants to come to a resolution on restarting the 2019-20 season some time in the next 2-4 weeks. It’s a monumental task, one that involves figuring out a location (or locations) for games and acquiring the sheer number of COVID-19 tests necessary to make sure the league is 100 percent on top of any possible spreads of the virus that has touched every corner of the world over the last few months.
Of course, there is still a ton that we do not know about the virus and won’t know for some time, a gigantic hurdle for the league in its efforts to get back onto the floor. To that end, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes that the NBA will have look to its response to a previous pandemic for inspiration on how it can proceed safely.
Cuban will appear on Vice’s Shelter in Place with Sam Smith on Thursday evening. At one point, the Mavs owner was asked about how the league’s shutdown will hurt franchises, owners, and players, and while Cuban made clear he does not have a total number, there was a serious impact. He has no clue when that will change, but he does believe that some alterations to how basketball is played could be on the horizon.
“Back when Magic Johnson announced he had AIDS, there were a lot of players who said that they would not play with him,” Cuban said. “They didn’t understand how it could be transmitted, so they were all afraid. There was a rule that was put in place called the Blood Infection Rule. And what it says was any player that had blood on their uniform, that uniform had to be cleaned or changed out before they could return to play. That rule came into play in 1991 or 1992, it’s still in effect today. We’re going to see comparable things happen where there are rules established that we think are necessary in order to maintain the health and safety of everybody involved. We’ll figure out what those are and we’ll implement them.”
Cuban didn’t go into what these potential changes could entail, which makes sense, because there just is not enough that we know about this virus. Regardless, this is something that the league will assuredly have to figure out before getting into any sort of return to play, and if the proposed timeline for coming up with a plan is to be believed, it’ll have to figure this all out sometime in the next few weeks.