Waking up today felt different. Different than the last 140 days. There’s a new vibe in the air, a new sense of hope and brightness lingering in the atmosphere. Do you feel that prick of happiness inside your heart? Do you feel that bit of weight lifted? Do you hear the birds chirping a bit louder, the sun shining a bit brighter, and the sky seeming a bit more blue? NBA BASKETBALL IS OFFICIALLY, OFFICIALLY BACK, BABY!!
For the first time in over four months, the Utah Jazz and the 21 other teams will resume play today in a historic ‘NBA Restart”. Scrimmage games have come and gone, and the bubble has proven to be effective with the NBA releasing news of zero positive COVID-19 tests for the second straight week.
NBA and NBPA announce none of the 344 players tested on the Orlando campus since July 20 had a positive COVID-19 test pic.twitter.com/VOUGfpR7J6— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 29, 2020
When the NBA started releasing their plans for the bubble over a month ago, a lot of people, including myself, were pretty skeptical. But so far, the bubble idea was crazy enough to actually work. Players have started to acclimate to being in the bubble, and besides a controversy over some really good hot wings in a strip club, there hasn’t been too much drama. NBA athletes have been playing golf, video games, ping pong and more, and things off the court seem to be going good as well. There’s even a new awesome twitter account that’s been following the best of the NBA bubble, which is a must follow through this historic time we’re about to dive headfirst into.
There’s NBA basketball today, ladies and gentleman.
The Utah Jazz will be playing in the first ever official game inside the NBA’s bubble in Orlando, Florida. This will be the first of eight games inside the bubble as they jostle against other Western Conference teams for playoff seeding. Here’s a look at their games and schedule in case you needed a reminder of what you will be doing with your life for the next two weeks or so.
7/30 4:30 PM NEW ORLEANS PELICANS TNT
8/1 1:30 PM OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER ESPN
8/3 7:00 PM LOS ANGELES LAKERS ESPN
8/5 12:30 PM MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
8/7 11:00 AM SAN ANTONIO SPURS
8/8 1:30 PM DENVER NUGGETS TNT
8/10 1:00 PM DALLAS MAVERICKS NBA TV
8/13 TBD SAN ANTIONIO SPURS
(All times Mountain Standard)
(All games televised on ATT SportsNet as well as national TV games listed)
This is going to be so much fun. Watching the scrimmage games gave us a good idea of what these games are going to look like. Silent free-throws, golf claps, virtual fans, courtside cameras; there are so many new things about these bubble games that make it fun, even if it is really different than an actual NBA game with fans in attendance. If you need to catch up on the scrimmage games, I gotchu.
Both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell played really well in the scrimmage games. Rudy looks like he’s out for blood.. again. Donovan looks like he’s seeing the floor with a new set of eyeballs, and the game is coming so easy for him. Of course these were only scrimmage games, but it’s much better to look good in these than looking really rusty like some guys have. We knew we were going to have a bit of rust here and there, and there definitely has been some in the scrimmage games.
Part 2 of AWFUL basketball in the bubble is here pic.twitter.com/VKfdmWfCZs— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 28, 2020
Make no mistake about it, life is better when NBA basketball is being played. Even if it is rusty, or in a bubble, or on planet Mars. When basketball is on TV, life is better.
The Jazz and NBA players as a whole have made it clear that even while playing games, they want a steady focus to remain on the fight against racism and social injustice. Several NBA media personalities have reported NBA Players’ plans to kneel during National Anthems before games, among other things.
ESPN reports Jazz and Pelicans players are discussing plans to surround the BLM signage and kneel during the national anthem during the NBA’s first game back Thursday. Your response is requested:— David James (@DavidDJJames) July 29, 2020
There's growing consensus among NBA players to kneel during the national anthem when season restarts Thursday, our NBA Insider @ShamsCharania reports. pic.twitter.com/6HrdbDdruz— Stadium (@Stadium) July 28, 2020
NBA players plan to kneel during the national anthem on opening nights starting Thursday, per @BA_Turner pic.twitter.com/avsQtHi7YN— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 24, 2020
Donovan Mitchell, who has never been one to shy away from sharing this thoughts and standing up for what he believes in, claims that the NBA players’ message in the upcoming games “monumental”.
Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell wouldn’t speak on tomorrow’s plans ahead of the tip-off vs. NO, but did elaborate on the historical significance of using this platform successfully pertaining to blacks and equality moving forward. “It’s truly gonna be monumental,” Mitchell said. pic.twitter.com/o3y4irYyJp— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) July 29, 2020
With the Jazz being front and center for the first game in the bubble on national TV, this will definitely be something to watch for. This comes after the Jazz as a team decided that everyone on the roster would be sporting an NBA-approved social justice message on the back of their jersey instead of their names.
For so many reasons, the 2020 NBA season will be unlike any other that we’ve ever seen. The “re-start” 8 games that will be played in the next two weeks and the playoffs after that, will surely be a crazy unique experience for basketball fans across the globe. There will be high moments and low ones, but one things for sure; we’re glad to have you back, NBA.