LeBron James reiterated Monday that he is hopeful the NBA season can resume, with the caveat that the health and well-being of players wonâ€™t be jeopardized by a return to play.
The Los Angeles Lakers star, speaking on the Uninterrupted platformâ€™s â€œWRTS: After Partyâ€ show that was released Monday, said it remains his wish that the season comes back â€œsooner than later.â€ The NBA suspended the season on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and two unidentified members of the Lakers were among the leagueâ€™s players who subsequently tested positive for the virus.
â€œDefinitely not giving up on the season,â€ James said. â€œNot only myself and my teammates, the Lakers organization, we want to play. Thereâ€™s a lot of players that I know personally that want to play. And obviously, we donâ€™t ever want to jeopardize the health of any of our players or any of the playersâ€™ families and so on and so on.
â€œThis is a pandemic that we have no idea (about). We canâ€™t control it,â€ James added.
James was among a group of some of the leagueâ€™s highest-paid players, National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder also part of the group, who met last week to talk about the season. Those players affirmed to one another on that call that they would like to see the season resume.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told playersâ€™ union members on May 8 that he was hoping to make some sort of decision about the future of the season within no more than a four-week window. By that timeframe, Silver and the NBA would therefore like to chart some course of action by June 5.
As of Monday, just over half of the leagueâ€™s 30 franchises had reopened their practice facilities for voluntary workouts. But other sports are showing promising signs, with NASCAR restarting its season this past weekend, baseball working through some plans that could lead to a summer opening day, and live golf returning to television Sunday with a skins game in South Florida.
â€œWeâ€™re seeing a lot of sporting events, UFC, soccer, weâ€™re hearing baseballâ€™s about to get going in a little bit,â€ James said. â€œYou know, I want to get back to playing. I love to play the game of basketball. I know how inspiring the game of basketball is. I know how inspiring sport is, itself. As soon as possible, when we can get back out there, weâ€™d love to bring the game of basketball back to our fans.â€
James and the Lakers were atop the Western Conference standings when the NBA suspended play. At 49-14, the NBAâ€™s second-best record behind Milwaukee, the Lakers had already clinched what would be their first playoff spot since 2013.
â€œI know we all miss it,â€ James said. â€œIâ€™d be sitting here lying if I said we donâ€™t.â€
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