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March 8, 2021

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Silver no to global games next season

There will be no international games on the National Basketball Association schedule next season but there is hope teams will be back playing in near full arenas in 2021-22 as the United States gains control of the COVID-19 pandemic, commissioner Adam Silver said on Saturday at his pre-All Star Game media conference.

With last year’s season held in a quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida, and the current campaign being played in mostly empty arenas, Silver said the resumption of international games will be on hold until at least the 2022-23 season.

“First of all, no plans yet to travel for next season,” said Silver, talking ahead of the All-Star Game in Atlanta, Georgia. “In all likelihood, we won’t travel internationally until the following season.

“But the plan remains to try to resume our season as close to so-called normal as possible next year.

“Frankly, I’m fairly optimistic at this point that we will be able to start on time, and that we have roughly half of our teams having fans in their arenas right now.”

This season is set to end in mid-July allowing players who want to participate in the Olympics to go to Tokyo.

Silver also noted that a July finish will give players a chance to recover as the league looks to get back on a regular cycle.

Although there are currently no plans to return to a quarantine bubble for the NBA playoffs, Silver said he could not rule out the possibility.

“I don’t rule anything out just because one thing we’ve all come to understand over the last year is that the virus is firmly in charge,” said Silver, adding that the league will not require players to be vaccinated against COVID-19. “We need to adjust to circumstances as they present themselves. I’d say maybe for the first time in the past year I’m fairly optimistic right now that as we see fans returning to our arenas.”

The NBA also has no plans to change it’s “iconic” logo, despite recent calls to make the late Kobe Bryant the image of the league, Silver said.

“The logo is iconic,” he noted, adding that it “doesn’t feel like it’s the appropriate moment to change it.”

A petition urging the league to “immortalize (Bryant) forever as the new NBA logo” has garnered more than 3 million signatures since Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January of 2020.

The current NBA logo is widely accepted to be based on the silhouette of former Lakers star Jerry West, who has said before he would be happy to see it change.

But Silver said there’d been no discussions on the topic in the league office.

Noting that the league had named the All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player award after Bryant, Silver said the league could eventually revisit the idea of updating the logo design. “I appreciate the sentiments, but it feels like the logo is appropriate right now,” he said.


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