Some NBA teams in states where state-at-home orders have been eased will open their practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts. The Sixers, whose practice facility is in Camden, New Jersey, won’t be among those teams, though general manager Elton Brand said Tuesday the team has “backup plans,” including possibly using 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware (see story).
In the context of those developments, Charles Barkley on Thursday afternoon joined The Mike Missanelli show on 97.5 The Fanatic and was asked about the possibility of the NBA resuming the 2019-20 season, which has been suspended since March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As usual, Barkley had a strong opinion.
I don’t know how they can play basketball safe,” he said. "That’s the most important thing. I just don’t know how they can do it and make everybody safe.”
“You’ve heard this stupid idea, they’re going to keep guys in Vegas and Florida for the playoffs. And I’m like well, once they’re in the hotel, they can’t leave, they can’t see their families … I don’t see all the players going for that. Then they’ve got to worry about everybody in the hotel who brings room service, the maid and everything. You would have to have total lockdown — the maids couldn’t go home. I just don’t see how they would be able to do it and make it safe. The one thing you can’t have happen is — just talking to my attorney — if you get one of these guys sick and they get one of their kids sick, and god forbid, they die or somebody in their family dies, they’re going to sue the hell out of TNT, ESPN and the NBA. It’s a really dangerous situation.
Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts will hold a call with all NBA players on Friday, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported.
Does Barkley think the NBA should cancel the season, given the risks he outlined?
“What I think they should do,” Barkley said, “is say, ‘Listen guys, this is a bad situation.’ These guys that own the teams, they’ve got a gazillion dollars. The TV networks are going to be around forever. Let’s just pay the players and say, ‘Guys, we’re going to start the season next year.’ … I’ve always believed we should start the season in December anyway so we don’t have to compete with pro football or college football. I’ve said that five years. ... But it’s obviously always about money.
"I just hope we don’t do something stupid just for money and somebody gets really sick or dies. That doesn’t make sense for me.”
That said, Barkley was not enthusiastic about the idea of playing games without fans.
“I think it’s going to suck,” he said of fan-less games. “I think it’s going to suck for the players. Obviously it’s going to suck for the fans, but it’s going to suck for the players. … There’s a really big advantage to playing at home and you lose that ability when there are no crowds there.”
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