Opening Up NBA Practice Facilities is Just a False Beacon of Hope
Over the weekend, news broke that the NBA would consider allowing teams to re-open their practice facilities in states that have relaxed stay-at-home orders put in place to prevent spread of the coronavirus. On Monday, a series of reports emerged that the league faced pushback from multiple teams over the idea as the Atlanta Hawks said they wouldn't be re-opening their facility despite relaxed restrictions in Georgia.
This idea was always just going to be a beacon of false hope for all of us scanning the horizon, desperate for any indication sports may return. Putting aside the issue of competitive balance, letting teams go back to the facility wouldn't bring us any closer to normalcy as we once knew it. States that do have relaxed stay-at-home orders are doing so against the advisement of medical experts; allowing teams to return to their facilities implicitly rewards those states and sends the message that things are on the up-and-up.
They aren't. Not really. We're still a long ways from feeling safe while out and about, much less bringing back a massive operation like a basketball game. I'm sure opening practice facilities can be done safely; as Shams Charania reports, the league has already laid out specific rules and regulations for the teams that choose to do so.
But, sadly, this doesn't mean anything. Some NBA teams have the option of using their facilities while the fans are all still supposed to stay indoors. That's nice and certainly a step in the right direction, but it's a small, tiny step. We all want this to be a sign of better times ahead. I do, too. I wish I wasn't writing this. But we all are better off buckling up and putting our heads down instead of investing our hope for sports in this.