As of this moment, the National Basketball Association is scheduled to resume the season that was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic on July 31 in Orlando. The plan is for 22 teams to play eight more regular-season games, followed by a full four-round playoff bracket to crown a champion.
That's the plan, anyway. Unfortunately, 2020 has proven not to care about plans, and COVID-19 hasn't gone away like the boogie monster just because we put our heads under the covers for a few weeks.
If you haven't heard, Florida is not doing well when it comes to new cases of the coronavirus. We're breaking records, and not the good ones.
Still, the NBA has chosen Orlando to host the remainder of its season. Bad idea, NBA. Especially when there are so many better options are out there.
Here are a few for the NBA to consider, free of charge.
The University of Wyoming. Yup, Wyoming. Basically, as far away from Florida as possible. Technically, as far away from, well, everything as possible. That's the point.
Wyoming, on average, has about ten new cases of coronavirus a day. Florida broke 2,500 new cases on a single day this past weekend. Maybe choosing a city in Florida that sees more tourists than almost anywhere in the U.S. was a poor bet. It's not too late to change it, though.
The NBA should play the rest of the season at the University of Wyoming. If there isn't a hotel or two that can accommodate the 1,000 to 2,000 people the league will have in town, it can rent those massive A-list movie-set trailers or some RVs.
Basketball Island. The NBA has endless money but has chosen to take its entire business and risk it all at a resort in Orlando like it's pitching the idea of basketball at a convention. Commissioner Adam Silver should take a page out of the playbook of the Ultimate Fighting Championship — which will have a fight card on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi this month — and play the rest of its games offshore.
Basketball Island. Where will everyone stay? A cruise ship. Nobody is using those right now, and they've likely had time to become the cleanest places on Earth after almost ending the planet as we know it.
Floating Finals. Speaking of cruise ships, what better bubble than one in the middle of the ocean where no one can ever come or go? Royal Caribbean has a Seaplex ship with a huge indoor basketball court. With a few additions and adjustments, you could have the NBA playoffs aboard a ship.
Obviously, everyone who enters would need to be thoroughly tested beforehand and constantly thereafter, but if the idea is to make it safer for those inside the bubble, making sure no one is within miles is the best way. In Orlando, the biggest risk to the NBA would be players sneaking away to see family or friends who aren't being as careful as they should be. Isolating on a cruise ship would ensure that everyone the players see is under the same 24/7 constant carefulness they're adhering to.
This would also allow the players and their families to take a vacation while finishing a very weird season. That could give the families a much-needed break from reality.
Burning Man: NBA Edition. Oh, you want an off-the-grid bubble? We hereby present a desert in Nevada where the notorious Burning Man festival takes place.
There would be nothing to escape to out in the desert. No family would want to visit, and players would have nowhere to go. The NBA could bring some Dwayne Johnson-worthy trailers out there, set up some mega-tents with activities, build a quick makeshift indoor basketball court, and get down to business. Crazy? Yes. Dumb? Definitely. A worse idea than Orlando? Nope.
Send Kanye West, Jay-Z, and whoever else wants to come and throw the players a concert every weekend. Film a crazy reality TV show that would pay for it all. At least have fun with it.
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Vietnam. Did you know there is actually a basketball team called the Saigon Heat in Vietnam? Vietnam hasn't had a single coronavirus-related death and, for the most part, never really felt the pandemic. Officials locked down the country, citizens played by the rules (see: communism), and that was that. Hospitals were actually slower than usual, and life is now back to normal.
So why not bring this beautiful COVID-free country the entire NBA for six weeks? Florida has 2,500 more cases a day than the entire country of Vietnam, so maybe it's not completely nuts!
Technically, United States citizens have to check into a mandatory quarantine hotel/prison for two weeks before they can enter Vietnam, but by July 31, that should be old news. If not, an exception would likely be made.