What is the future of sports?
With the cancellation of all major sporting events due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sports fans have found themselves searching for something to hold onto. Personally, the suspension of the NBA season has created a void that I have struggled to fill.
The Lakers were having a season comparable to 2010, the last time they won a championship. I had the utmost confidence that LeBron James and Anthony Davis would bring Los Angeles a seventeenth championship and bring the city something to celebrate. With the passing of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, a championship would be something that basketball fans in general could rally around.
But now, with the season postponed, there is a 2-hour period everyday where I feel incomplete. The time I would’ve spent watching basketball is now spent thinking about how I could be watching basketball. Instead of checking scores on my phone, I’m checking for updates on players diagnosed with coronavirus disease. When my phone lights up with a Twitter alert from sports journalists Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania it’s no longer about a trade or new contracts, it’s about players who have tested positive for COVID-19 and how other players are donating to find a cure.
There have been moments of positivity and hope, like on March 19 when the NBA announced that NBA League Pass would be free. NBA League Pass is a subscription that allows users to watch live games from their phones and other electronic devices, and can be linked to Apple TV and Roku. This provides the opportunity to watch past NBA games and reflect on not only this past season but every season since the games were televised. Social media accounts that normally cover game highlights have posted highlight reels from the season as well as historic sports moments. What brings the most comfort though, would have to be the airing of past historic games. From MJ’s return to Allen Iverson dropping a career-high 60 points, these games bring basketball fans a sense of normalcy. The 2000 Western Conference finals game seven between the Lakers and the Trailblazer aired this past week. For those old enough to have seen it live, it brought a comforting sense of nostalgia. For those not around, it highlighted one of the greatest eras of basketball and showcased the golden age of two of the NBA’s most dominant players, Shaq and Kobe.
Whether it’s through playing basketball with my siblings or watching Instagram posts recapping the highlights of the 2017 NBA Finals, I try to fill the void that the lack of basketball has left me with. There is still talk of the NBA potentially pushing the playoffs into July and hosting them in Las Vegas or the Bahamas. However, the most important thing at this moment in time is making sure that people stay safe, and if that means dealing with a few months without basketball then that’s okay with me.
By Bhalpriya Sandhu, Design editor-in-chief and opinion editor
Photo by Bhalpriya Sandhu