March 11th, 2020. A day that forever will be remembered in NBA and basketball history worldwide.
It was the first basketball game to be canceled due to the coronavirus, which has catastrophically affected the world and each of us as human beings. Yes, this event has affected more than the sports world. Lives have changed. Daily routines have been thrown off. The phrase "it's been a long day" has never been more illustrated than our current situations.
As basketball fans, each day that goes by impacts us all in different ways. Old games on YouTube fill the void, if only for a little while. Draft talks engage us and fuel our imaginations for the hope of the future when our beloved sport will return to some state of normalcy. Still, the hole left by the disappearance of basketball hasn't only impacted NBA fans. Basketball worldwide has been put on pause. Fans in each and every country are looking for other ways to fill the void. We wake up each and every morning, with the blind faith that news will arrive soon of the return of our favorite sport.
As the world fills itself with negativity regarding the virus, why not use these moments to understand the bigger picture here. Yes, this is what's happening now. We patiently wait, alike fans of other sports, for a moment in which our excitement level can be fulfilled again. But take this time to just imagine when the first game happens, in which we can all enjoy it the way it used to be. The excitement of the game will never be more cherished than it will in the future. Times are changing. The game of basketball as we know it is changing. Odds are our beloved game will continue in a way never seen before...without fans passionately impacting games with their thunderous roar. But it's not going to matter at first. The moment that ball goes in the air for the opening tip, we're all going to cherish that one moment more than we ever could have possibly dreamed of.
As a lifelong fan of the sport, I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing yesterday. Two major events were supposed to take place in the NBA world. Events that send excitement to fans of the sport worldwide. The first being the conference finals of the NBA playoffs, a sentence that makes me shake my head in disbelief as I write this. The other? The NBA Draft lottery, an event that creates excitement and hope for the upcoming future for teams and players that are looking ahead to the NBA Draft. An event in which basketball fans across the world glue themselves to their television. "This is the year we turn things around," a common phrase of ambition for fans of NBA teams that struggled in the previous year. But as we sit here today with a feeling of uncertainty, we must continue to be patient as basketball fans for the next step.
That next step? Establishing the best possible scenario that can provide as much safety as humanly possible for the athletes of this sport. There's no secret, this is the biggest challenge that the sport of basketball, not just the NBA, will face in its history. All potential scenarios need to be evaluated, even if they seem insane to the common eye. But as fans of the sport, shouldn't we be open to anything in order to fill the void?
There's simply nothing like a basketball game. The sounds. The in-game entertainment. The energy pumping through the building after your team just went on a 15-0 run. It's truly one of the most thrilling sporting events you can attend. There's no language barrier when it comes to the overall joy the game can bring to our souls. Even during this time, it's allowed us as basketball fans a chance to rewind and appreciate the history of the game worldwide. Is that such a terrible thing? Whether we like to admit it, the basketball world has grown closer during this time. We've all traveled down the wormhole of YouTube, finding ourselves arguing about whether or not a player in the 1970s was as good as others believe. That's the beauty of this game. We all can take a moment to step back and realize how much we cherish the sport.
Our treasured sport will return. I can sit here and tell you it will be the same, but that wouldn't be the truth. We're all going to have to get used to seeing a different brand of our sport. No fans, no home-court advantage, more in-game chatter, etc. The game will change, but our passion and love for it will only grow stronger. Here's to looking forward to that day that our favorite game returns.
Stay safe, basketball will return.