NBA commissioner says 2021 pause for Olympics unlikely

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Friday he thinks it’s unlikely the league will pause a delayed 2021 season to allow player to compete in a postponed Tokyo Olympics.

“We’ll consider it,” Silver said in a courtside interview with NBA TV before the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat clashed in game two of the NBA Finals in the league’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.

“I think it’s unlikely at the end of the day that if we start late that we would stop for the Olympics.”

The league’s 2020 season was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, shutting down in March and resuming in late July — more than a month after the NBA title would have normally been decided.

Silver has already said the 2020-21 campaign won’t start before Christmas, which means it will run through the scheduled July 23, 2021 start of the Tokyo Games — which were postponed because of the pandemic by a year.

“It’s not just a function of stopping just for the period that they would be competing over in Tokyo,” Silver said. “They would require a training camp and they require rest afterwards.”

Silver was confident a decision not to pause for the Games would be weathered well by the United States, but he acknowledged that it could be tougher on other countries whose top players compete in the NBA.

“I am a bit worried about some of the international teams because some of their stars play in our league and their absence would make a huge difference for those national teams,” he said.

“Having said that, I can only say these are such extraordinary circumstances that even if we set out to plan for the Olympics how can they even know what the world is going to be like next summer and whether they can go forward?

“I think during these extraordinary times all the conventional rules are off the table and everybody’s just going to have to make certain accommodations.” (AFP)