The board is targeting a Dec. 22 start to what would be a season of 70 to 72 games, with the NBA Finals ending in June again as has been in the case for many years, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because no plan has been finalized, said the possibility of fans being at games would hinge on how a particular market is faring against the coronavirus at that time.
There are other options, such as waiting until later in the season to begin play with the hope that more arenas would be able to have fans. But starting in December instead of mid-January or later could generate a difference of roughly $500 million in revenue, the person said.
Revenue projections for the league this season were missed by about $1.5 billion, the person said. The losses were the result of a combination of factors — the shutdown caused by the pandemic, the cancelation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season in a bubble at Walt Disney World without fans, the nearly $200 million price tag for operating that bubble and a yearlong rift with the Chinese government that saw NBA games not shown on state television there.
Alexia Grant, aka Chef Lex, was one of 10 chefs invited to cook for players inside the NBA bubble. From her kitchen at Disney World, she launched the pop-up restaurant Comfort Kitchen, specializing in Caribbean and Southern comfort food. Since, she’s cooked for players from every team in the bubble, including the Miami Heat, the LA Lakers, and the Denver Nuggets. But cooking under strict quarantine isn’t easy. She can’t leave the bubble to do her own shopping and has to rely on runners to deliver her food to the players in the inner bubble.
NBA 2K21 will have three different cover athletes. Now we know Damian Lillard will be the first.
2K announced the Portland Trail Blazers star will serve as the cover athlete for current-gen systems in a press release Tuesday.
Lillard expressed gratitude for the cover spot:
“This is a special moment for me in my NBA career. I’ve been a fan of NBA 2K for years and love how they represent all aspects of basketball culture. I’m an avid 2K player so I’m honored to join the other NBA greats who have been on the cover. I’m grateful to all my fans and can’t wait for everyone to experience the game later this year.”
“If we come back and they’re just like, ‘We’re adding a few games to finish the regular season,’ and they’re throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don’t have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I’m going to be with my team because I’m a part of the team. But I’m not going to be participating. I’m telling you that right now. And you can put that in there,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday morning via phone.
Portland is 29-37 and in the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference, 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff seed. The league anticipates restarting the season at some point in late July at ESPN Wide World of Sports at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The season has been suspended since March 11 after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.