As states across the nation make plans to re-open their economies and sports leagues across the globe start to make plans to return, the question on everyone’s mind is: What’s next for the NBA?
Many believe the next step is to re-open team facilities, affording players the opportunity to conduct voluntary individual workouts. In states that are opening gyms and the like, that could begin happening as early as this week, but the NBA has been met with resistance from some NBA organizations and owners, such as Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks.
To that end the NBA Countdown crew of Maria Taylor, Paul Pierce, Jalen Rose and Jay Williams discussed the risk of such actions. While Rose and Williams are on the side of caution, The Truth believes that if done safely, working out at a team facility carries as much risk as going to the grocery store or anything else people choose to do outside their house right now.
“Everything is a risk. When you think about everything that’s going on, ordering postmates is a risk. Going to the grocery store is a risk. Everything that we do outside of our house is a risk. Period. The risk is always going to be there,” Paul said. “But if you can confine it and limit it to a certain number of people. At least in the NBA they have access to tests, I don’t think it’s [any more] of a risk…because at the end of the day we’re at risk every day in everything we do when we leave the house.”
All four members of the panel agreed, however, that this isn’t possible if the NBA doesn’t have near unlimited access to the aforementioned tests.
“The thing is making the players feel safe and the thing that’s going to make guys feel safe is having the tests readily available,” Paul said. “If you tell me, this is the procedure: every day you come to practice or you come to the game, there is going to be a test, and every day I walk into that facility, I walk into that gym, its readily available to where I know right away, and that’s for everyone, it’d make me feel a whole lot better.”
It wasn’t all COVID-19 on this episode. Later, Maria Taylor turned attention to some of the great runs of play in each panelist’s career. For Paul, that surprisingly wasn’t during Boston’s 2008 title run. Instead, he pinpointed the week that he earned the moniker The Truth from Shaquille O’Neal.
“That was on a West Coast swing where I went in [against] the Lakers, I had 42 points. I think the next night we played Phoenix, after Shaq called me The Truth, I had another 40 point-night. I think I went on for next 15 of 16 games, I went over 30 points per night. That was my greatest run.”
Paul also talked about a pickup-game experience with Magic Johnson during the 1999 lockout that stands out as one of his best moments playing basketball. Watch it all below.