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Adam Silver: Maybe NBA bubble schedule should’ve included break from games

Bucks guard George Hill

ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 26: George Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks reads a statement to the media on August 26, 2020 at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Bucks guard George Hill – fed up with being in the NBA bubble when police shot Jacob Blake – decided alone to sit out a game.

Suddenly, the whole league was on strike.

Hill’s teammates joined him in a planned forfeit. Players throughout the league are concerned with racial justice, and other teams followed in sitting out. It was easier to gain momentum as players – separated from friends and family for more than a month – faced mental-health challenges amid the bubble grind.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, via CNN:

I think they needed a break. And maybe, in retrospect, we should have built in a break along the way in the games. Not necessarily for people to leave the bubble, because then you’ve got to quarantine all over again. But just to give guys several days just to sit back and sort of just reflect on what’s happening in society.

This might be an irrelevant lesson. The NBA hopes to begin next season in home arenas. But it could be useful if the league must determine the length of regional pods.

The big catch: The NBA can’t predict when societal issues – like police shooting a black man on video – will boil over. A pre-scheduled break would’ve meant players spending more time in the bubble away from their normal lives. Nobody wanted that.

Like with many situations amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA found difficulty striking the balance between safety (which requires degrees of isolation) and mental health. It’s a challenge that warrants continued consideration as the league proceeds.