The NBA did what the rest of the country could not in completing its improbable season
The silent but deadly virus made it impossible.
The ongoing blackbody trend on the streets made it unlikely.
The prospect of spending nearly three months on a restrictive campus made it unlikely.
But somehow 100 days came and went, and the NBA did what the rest of the country couldn't - issue a strict plan with no margin for error, stick to it without complaint, and make the happiest place on earth the safest mini-city between the Pacific and Atlantic.
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The tears Anthony Davis quietly shed as purple-gold confetti fell as the Los Angeles Lakers clinched another title weren't as likely as the tears of those who didn't believe quitting that bubble without positive testing and medical Supply was possible -induced game interruptions.
The tears of the normally uncomplicated but stoic Erik Spoelstra were equally unlikely, but they underscored what it took to begin, let alone end, this odyssey. The only people who knew what it took were the people who actually went through it, as there was no blueprint, no precedent for anyone to withdraw from in anticipation. It was probably better that way because it was inconceivable.
Getting 22 teams onto the Walt Disney World campus seemed like the biggest signal of the NBA's intentions, a transparent cash robbery versus being prudent about starting the playoffs and ending the season without the risk of infection.
Even with the nearly 120-page manual that seemed to cover every possible contingency and leave nothing to chance, the NBA took the chance to work out regular season games to meet commitments to their television partners and involve the players in some bogus playoff form .
But it seemed too ambitious, as did the entire company. If ever there was evidence of the needs-based relationship between the NBA's players and owners, the diabolical details of the owners, who have historically and currently donated to Republicans, have shown that they have turned to their partners and advocated slogans that violate that ideology Recognition of such a need.
The NBA managed to do the impossible to complete the 2019-20 season. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)
Commissioner Adam Silver has stated in interviews that the "Black Lives Matter" sign tattooed on the floor will not be present in NBA arenas when the game is back for next season, underscoring how difficult it likely was for the owners to get radical matter to agree to such a thing.
As much as gamers' freedoms and habits were restricted in this unprecedented period, it was a sacrifice in itself that the owners kept quiet and swallowed their massive egos. The numerous campaigns, commercials and t-shirts calling on citizens to vote for one side of the political aisle rather than the other, and it is not the side that owners put their money predominantly on.
And if you were to bet your money on something, anything to distract that from your conclusion, the will of the players would have been as high as a coronavirus outbreak - so many agendas, so many votes, so many rules for people to be on accustomed to their excellence that offers them elasticity or exception from the point at which they were teenagers.
It's lost in the proverbial confetti, but there was more than a small contingent of players who didn't think Orlando was worth the trip, that the nation's focus on this racial reckoning would be diverted if basketball restarted .
Even before the Bubble Ball started, some players withdrew for personal and health reasons that could not truthfully be disputed. But those who made up their minds to gamble probably had no idea about the journey they were actually taking. The physical, mental, and emotional strain it would pose until the clear bubble allowed them to see what was happening in the real world.
To believe that you make a difference, to believe that the slogans and the emotional, vulnerable statements about what it is to be black in America hit your right ears, hit a roadblock when all eyes saw another shooting. It was another sobering reminder that the road is long and hard, but the desperation of the NBA season almost derailed it.
The season was marked by a mistake when the Milwaukee Bucks showed the fragility of this entire operation by putting things on hold for a day. It showed how perfect everything had to be to finish this, let alone start or continue it.
There did not seem to be any consensus on further developments. After all, it seems that long ago, given the events of the past eight weeks, but that could have meant a minor thing.
A big little thing, a playoff size.
The players met unexpectedly and frustratingly after following the lead of the Bucks, who had no long-term plan but to tell the world, "We're not playing today," and it took so long for things to get back on track.
After Jacob Blake was shot, the Milwaukee Bucks decided basketball could wait. (Ashley Landis-Pool / Getty Images)
If the NFL's outbreaks and subsequent stubbornness to act as if the deadly virus didn't exist couldn't address the massive enterprise the NBA was putting into their operation to get things done, this day would have the World stopped, supposed to be the greatest signal.
The tiredness of these weeks, the emotions, the poking, the nudging, the testing, the fear - it would have been understandable, even if Silver had said “no mas” and we had never achieved what some would consider the end of the storybook when the historic Lakers reached the mountaintop again in a kind of familiarity for fans in an unfamiliar setting.
Players have been encouraged to wear their souls every day, an autopsy of their worst fears when all about exercise tells them to ignore such vulnerabilities. The league was positioned to have a soul for the first time when the only rhythm and blues should be confined to the pitch.
The league had to endure self-inflicted shots at its likely hypocrisy about the situation in China without letting itself be used as political prop, even though the NBA was naked to the evil actors and those who wanted nothing more than to distract them from national conversation that led the league.
It was a test of perseverance and focus and at least the appearance of the pseudo-conscience.
The players recognized a measure of their power and range of their voices.
The league realized it had had its longest year ever, and while TV ratings say otherwise, the NBA found it could start a successful business that most behaviors in the country should envy.
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