Look, we all want sports to come back. I would even argue that for me personally I so desperately need sports to come back that it is physically painful to think about. However, the reboot of the MLB and NBA seasons so far have been a hot mess for lack of a better term, and neither organizations have had teams compete against each other yet. The recent example of how dumb this all is comes from former UNC star and current player for the Sacramento Kings, Harrison Barnes.
Yesterday afternoon Barnes announced via Twitter that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
The good news here, depending on how you look at it, is that Barnes is asymptomatic, meaning that he currently isn’t experiencing any illness from the virus. The bad news, however, is that testing positive will keep him from his team for at least two weeks per NBA protocol, and following a cardiac screening the Kings can determine whether to fly Barnes out to Orlando or to find a replacement. Barnes is now the fourth Kings player to test positive for the virus, as Jabari Parker, Trae Young, and Alex Len have all been diagnosed.
Should Sacramento decide to fly Barnes out to Orlando to be with the team, he will have to test negative for the virus twice and show zero symptoms before he is allowed to rejoin the team. Currently each team is in the “bubble” created by the NBA in order to keep players away from the general public so that they don’t contract the coronavirus. The problem, however, is that Florida as a state has exploded in COVID cases over the last few weeks, and it’d be difficult to find a worse place to try to keep NBA players in order to continue the season.
Harrison Barnes joins what is turning out to be a lengthy list of players / participants in just about every sport to test positive for the virus. Carolina athletics has already had 37 athletes test positive, though the sports that these athletes participate in are unknown. At some point one has to wonder why we are still trying to force sports to happen, as we are much worse off in the month of July than we ever were when sports came to a screeching halt in March. Do we know more about the virus now than we did back then? Absolutely, but the more we’ve learned the more we now know just how terrible of an idea this is.
Alas, we wish Harrison Barnes a speedy and healthy recovery. As for the NBA, the plan is to restart the season July 30th with seeding games before having play-in games August 15th and 16th, with the beginning of the playoffs starting August 17th. This means that either the NBA has 15 days to back out of this before more people get sick, or we finally get to enjoy (non-TBT) basketball again in a couple of weeks. Maybe the bubble system will actually work out, as only two players have tested positive for COVID within said bubble. We’ll have to wait and see.
Can we fast forward to 2021 already?