League approves plan to resume NBA season in July at Disney World
UNTV News • June 5, 2020 • 416
REUTERS – The National Basketball Association (NBA) Board of Governors have approved a plan to restart the suspended season with a tentative July 31 start at Disney World, Florida amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the league said on Thursday (June 4).
The plan would see 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams play eight games to determine a 16-team playoff field that would follow the traditional post-season format with four best-of-seven series that would crown a champion no later than October 12.
The league said approval from its Board of Governors, which came on the day originally scheduled for the start of the NBA Finals, is the first formal step among the many required to resume the season.
According to ESPN, the vote on the format was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazes voting against the proposal.
All games, practices and housing would be at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex which is inside the Orlando resort and has multiple hotels and arenas, and would allow the league to limit outside exposure.
The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March.
The 22 returning teams would be comprised of the eight teams from each of the two conferences currently in playoff positions plus the six clubs that are six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.
If everything goes according to plan, the NBA said the 2020-21 season would begin on Dec. 1.
The league also said it plans to hold its 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to determine the order of the first 14 selections on Aug. 25. Lottery teams would be comprised of the eight clubs that do not participate in the restart and the six that go to Florida but do not qualify for the playoffs.
The actual NBA Draft, typically held in June, is now scheduled for Oct. 15.
Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter officially announced his retirement from professional basketball on Thursday (June 25) after an NBA record 22-season career during which his high-flying dunks made him one of the game’s top players in his prime.
Carter, widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers of all time, had previously said the 2019-20 NBA campaign would be his last but had not addressed his playing status since the NBA suspended its season in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I am officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter, 43, told the “Winging It” podcast.
Carter, the first NBA player to feature in four different decades, signed a one-year deal with the Hawks last August.
However, their season is over as they did not qualify for the NBA’s 22-team format for restarting action in late July at Disney World amid the novel coronavirus.
Carter played for eight teams during his career but will be most remembered for his time with the Toronto Raptors, where he put the Canadian city on the basketball map and earned the nickname “Air Canada” for his feats above the rim.
After his first season in Toronto, Carter was named the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1999. He was then named an All-Star for each of the following eight seasons.
In his second season, Carter won the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend with a dazzling display that further increased his stardom and helped ignite basketball’s popularity in what had otherwise been an ice hockey-mad country.
Carter, who ranks 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during a career that also included stops in New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and Atlanta.
He also helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2003 FIBA Americas tournament. (Reuters)
NBA great Michael Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season fetched a record $560,000 (463,380 pounds) in an online auction, Sotheby’s said on Sunday (May 17).
The Air Jordan 1s, designed for Jordan in 1985 and the first ever signature sneakers, were expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000 in the auction.
Known for selling multimillion-dollar art, Sotheby’s held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers last year and had then set a world record of $437,500 for a pair of 1972 Nike running shoes known as the “Moon Shoe.”
“We saw tremendous bidding up until the moment the sale closed, with the value more than doubling in the final hour alone,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s director of eCommerce development.
“That coupled with strong international bidding from six countries on four continents shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan… but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market.”
Like most of Jordan’s basketball shoes, they are a mismatched pair in a size 13 (left) and size 13.5 (right).
The auction coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the screening of the 10-part ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Jordan. The final two episodes of the show are set to air later on Sunday.
The shoes were sold by collector Jordan Geller, the founder of the sneaker museum Shoezeum in Las Vegas. (Reuters)
NBA teams are expected to get the go-ahead to reopen practice facilities for limited use as early as Friday (May 8), less than two months after the coronavirus outbreak forced the suspension of the season.
With head and assistant coaches barred and scrimmages forbidden, the workouts are unlikely to resemble business as usual for the NBA but would nonetheless be a step towards normalcy for a league whose season was upended in dramatic fashion in March.
Players will be required to wear face masks inside team facilities, “except during the period when they are engaged in physical activity,” according to a league memo.
Teams must also thoroughly disinfect any equipment used, from basketballs to weight-room equipment.
Modifications to stay-at-home orders could play a factor in which teams can resume workouts, with some U.S. states reopening and others maintaining strict social distancing procedures.
The NBA was among the first to see its season impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, with games called off at the last minute after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus in March. (Reuters)
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