“I don’t rule anything out just because one thing we’ve all understood over the past year is that the virus is powerful,” Silver said. “We need to adapt to the circumstances when they present themselves.
“But I think maybe for the first time in a year, I’m quite optimistic at the moment because we see fans returning to our arena, because we see public health officials all over the country starting to open sporting events, theaters, restaurants, other forms of entertainment, I feel happy enough that we will continue the pace.
“By the time we reach the playoffs in mid-May, things will be much better than they are now. Also, obviously here in the United States, we have made tremendous progress in terms of vaccination. That would be of great help in bringing people back to the arena. “
The NBA has lost money during the pandemic, obviously, because most teams haven’t been allowed to host fans, but Silver says the league is strong financially.
“Between last year and this year, we saw a pretty big loss,” said Silver. “I don’t usually talk about it openly because most of the teams are held privately. We are not suggesting that it is someone else’s problem other than ours. Last season, and this season, required significant investment from team owners. They accept that. Players will eventually take a pay cut this season as they partner the league and team on revenue. Executives, team executives, all of them have their hair cut on their salaries.
“I think when we all step back, we feel very lucky to be able to work in these circumstances. I think the players feel the same way. “
Despite opposition from some players, including LeBron James, about playing the All-Star Game, all of the players selected decided to participate, including Celtics forward Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Many of these players have expressed excitement about playing on Sunday, which will also include a Skill Challenge and a 3-point Shootout.
“It’s my job to pay attention to the overall interest of the league,” said Silver. “For me, when I say ‘Economic interests are a factor’, it has less to do with the economy one Sunday night at TNT in the United States. This has more to do with the greater value of the NBA brand. In fact it’s the No. 1 fan engagement event. 1 this year. As we continue to advance with the All-Star Game, not only will about 100 million people vote for All-Stars globally, but based on previous rankings, more than 100 million people will watch additional games and competitions.
“For me, it would be a bigger problem if I didn’t have one. I know that some players have made public comments of course suggesting they would rather not be on the All-Star Game. I’m almost 30 years in the league. Many have told me in person that they are happy to be All-Stars. They realized their career was relatively short.
“For some of them, there were some All-Star first time here, there were many who only became All-Star a few times. Even for them to be able to gather here, even for such a short time, was meaningful. “
Silver finally added that he doesn’t believe players need to be vaccinated for fans to fully return. He also admitted that he did not know if currently there were players who had been vaccinated. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was vaccinated last month, but the NBA doesn’t require vaccinations.
“I don’t think every player needs to be vaccinated so that the fans can come back. I mean, that’s not what the health authorities are suggesting to us, “Silver said.” I think we’re pretty familiar with the kind of involvement that can cause people to catch the virus from other people. There could be an aspect of herd immunity to this, which means good in our community. or on [other] jurisdiction, a certain percentage of people, who have been vaccinated or have antibodies, will protect others.
“I also think, be realistic around the NBA, like I said, we don’t have a plan to mandate players getting vaccinated. For all the necessary large-scale vaccinations, it could only happen with the Player Association. As I said, we are only talking about educational endeavors.
“So I don’t see every player needing to be vaccinated as an obstacle for fans to return to the arena. No longer do I think the fact that every fan will not be vaccinated is an obstacle for fans to return to the arena.
“I think with a combination of vaccines, antibodies, herd immunity in the community, proper safety and hygiene protocols, we will be able to return to something that looks closer to normal starting next season, at least based on the information I have provided. is available to me today. “
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