Hand licking, sweaty balms, and boxing out. Social distancing is not standard procedure for basketball. Guys are in each others’ faces, sweat (and sometimes blood) is everywhere, and germs are never a consideration.
But a return for the NBA in July certainly raises some questions for how the game is played. Bam Adebayo voiced those concerns this past week to the Associated Press.
“Some players like Steve Nash used to lick his hands,” Bam said. “Some people still have that in their routine. Some people wipe the sweat off their face and put it on the ball. It’s going to be weird how they try to control it, because we have to touch each other. And then you have to worry about the family members that we may be touching.”
The NBA is slated to be isolated to the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. Players will be regularly screened, their interactions with the outside world will be limited, and everyone around the arena will be tested. But will that be enough?
The nation’s reaction to the epidemic really began when Rudy Gobert tested positive after mocking how contagious the virus may be. The irony of quarantine starting with the NBA and that being the first major sport in America to resume is certainly interesting.
What will happen with the concern of some of the players? Will anyone sit out? Will this change the way they play? As of right now, we may find out as early as July 1st.
Read comments from several athletes to the AP about a return to play here.