On Tuesday, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. says he’s trying to lure the NBA to return to the city after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
While that’s wishful thinking, given the current state of NBA’s entire season being canceled during the COVID-19 crisis, it would give AC residents something to look forward to during these challenging times if the Mayor’s wishes were fulfilled.
“It is my goal to recruit and bring people here,” Small Sr. said during a Facebook Livestream. “We are trying to work that out and bring the NBA here once things settle down a little bit. There is a possibility that once things are back to normal that the NBA could be playing some of its games at Boardwalk Hall.”
Boardwalk Hall Would Serve as Location for Games
Mayor Small Sr. kept pretty mums about the depth of these talks with the National Basketball Association, and it’s unsure whether he’s been in direct contact with league officials or the extent to which these conversations have progressed.
But, Boardwalk Hall is the recommended location that the NBA would play their games at, should the league choose to return to Atlantic City.
NBA Season Suspended Since Mid-March
On March 11, the NBA suspended its season. The decision came quickly once Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. When news broke out on this, it prompted a sports world shutdown and 58 other members of the organization to get tested.
The NBA was the first of the major professional sports leagues to cancel their season. The very next day, the NHL, MLB, MLS, U.S. Soccer, and multiple tennis associations followed suit and suspended their seasons as well.
March is a highly anticipated time for basketball lovers, with both the NCAA championships and March Madness. Once NCAA was subsequently canceled, they gave the following statement:
“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”
Why More NBA Players Are Testing Positive for COVID-19
The thinking behind this is that since basketball was having its regular season going during the virus outbreak, more players were in direct contact with the general public, as well as other people who are affiliated with the league.
But, the same logic can be applied to anyone who regularly frequented packed places, like the New York City subway or a busy airport.
So far, these NBA players, members, or teams have announced positive tests for COVID-19:
- Marcus Smart, of the Boston Celtics
- Kevin Durant, of the Brooklyn Nets
- A member of the Denver Nuggets
- Christian Wood, of the Detroit Pistons
- Two players from the Los Angeles Lakers
- Three members from the Philadelphia 76ers
- Donovan Mitchell, of the Utah Jazz
Officials Considering Single-Site, Fan-less, 16-Team Playoff to Happen in a “Neutral City”
According to the New York Post, the league is looking into having a “one-site, fan-less, 16-team playoff and a five-to-seven-game regular-season prelude.”
This seems to be the NBA’s current plan given the current pandemic and utilizing one, fan-less site would create more of a television-only event, which would more properly adhere to current social distancing guidelines.
Considering their current plan, Atlantic City would fit the bill as an ideal host city for the tournament. For one, there’s plenty of hotel space that can be used for the teams, and the city itself is close to major television headquarters, which would make finding production labor an easier task.
Atlantic City is also close to the league’s headquarters, which is in New York. Other locations that are under consideration for the tournament are Las Vegas, Louisville, Orlando, and Hawaii.
It’s unclear what the remainder of the sports season will look like during the worsening pandemic, but it’s interesting to think about what the NBA might look like should they decide to resume their season.
It’s hard to tell with an everchanging situation of this magnitude. We can only hope that athletes stay healthy during this period and come back even stronger once the curve flattens. Stay tuned for more news.