Japan’s B.League may serve as a cautionary tale as the NBA weighs whether resuming its season will be possible, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. As Aldridge details, Japan’s basketball league attempted to resume play in mid-March after suspending play in February, but only got in one weekend of games before the season was canceled for good on March 27.
According to Aldridge, several players and at least one referee contracted COVID-19 following the resumption of the season, and multiple players refused to play any more games.
While Japan’s league didn’t attempt playing in a “bubble” city, all players and teams were practicing social distancing and games were being played without fans in attendance. Former NBA forward DaJuan Summers, who was playing in Japan this season, saw first-hand how the league’s attempt to restart was derailed, and isn’t sure that the NBA will be able to successfully pull it off this summer.
“I understand the risk,” Summers told Aldridge. “I don’t think it’s worth it. I don’t think it’s worth it right now. Of course, we all want see if LeBron (James) and A.D. (Anthony Davis) and those guys are gonna win a Finals. Or if (Giannis) Antetokounmpo is finally going to get to the Finals in the East without LeBron or Kawhi (Leonard) over there stopping him. There’s so many basketball lovers that’s hurting right now. But more importantly, there’s so many people dying.”
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- A Nigerian Basketball Federation official tells Colin Udoh of ESPN that conversations about adding Spencer Dinwiddie to Nigeria’s national team have been going on for about a year, despite the fact that the Nets guard has no obvious connection to the country. Dinwiddie is reportedly trying to acquire a Nigerian passport through naturalization to play for the team in the Tokyo Olympics.
- Former Hawks and Cavaliers big man Walter (Edy) Tavares told Portuguese website DTudo1Pouco (hat tip to Nicola Lupo of Sportando) that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a return to the NBA, despite his current long-term contract with Real Madrid in Spain.
- Family members of four passengers who died in the January helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the companies that owned and operated the aircraft, according to Brian Melley of The Associated Press. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, previously filed suit against Island Express Helicopters Inc. and its owner Island Express Holding Corp.