Mark Cuban, a billionaire entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner, said he believes the NBA will return to play in May.
The league suspended its season two weeks ago, setting off a chain reaction of sports leagues postponing their seasons. During the onslaught of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., Cuban led the NBA as the first owner to announce compensation for arena employees so they can pay their bills.
Here’s what Cuban said via WFAA about a possible May return date:
“But, you know, if I had to guess based off the people I’ve talked to at the CDC and other places, I would say that the over/under would be June 1, and I’m taking the under.
Hopefully by the middle of May, we’re starting to get back to normal, and the NBA is playing games. Maybe not with fans…I mean you know no one has perfect information right now, and so all decisions are tough.”
If the NBA does return in May, the arenas will likely be closed to fans, and it would make the NBA the first professional sports league to start up again in the U.S.
The NBA would also have to find a way to squeeze in 15 to 18 games per team, resulting in a late June start to the playoffs, which is about two months long. With this time frame, the NBA Champions would be announced in late August.
To put this in perspective, last year’s final game was held on June 13, 2019.
If the NBA were to start back up in May, then it may overlap with the beginning of college football and preseason NFL. Again, Cuban is being optimistic as it is still possible that the NBA may not finish their 2020 season.
Windhorst disagrees with Cuban’s notion of an early return to play
Check out this audio link to head why Brian Windhorst, ESPN analyst doesn’t share Cuban’s optimism of the NBA returning to play in May:
Listen to the following link to hear Windhorst discuss the how NBA is trying to create a bubble:
The commenter further explained his point about the Chinese Basketball Association’s re-start on Twitter:
The Chinese Basketball Association, seen as a trial balloon for returning to play after COVID-19 crisis, has delayed re-start to May. That would mean about a four-month hiatus after shutting down in January. More than 20 American players had gone back hoping to start April 15.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) March 25, 2020
Why Cuban may be optimistic
Cuban’s optimism may stem from the Senate and the White House reaching a $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus deal early Wednesday. The Shark Tank investor has been active on Twitter regarding the government’s inability to make a deal.
Check out this tweet that shows Cuban’s focus on the issue of worker safety when Congress can’t reach a deal:
There is no date when it comes to the safety of our employees. Their safety ways comes first https://t.co/0ikdCxhuzU
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) March 25, 2020
Watch the following video to see Cuban discussing a need for a national response to the coronavirus outbreak:
— America's Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) March 24, 2020
How Cuban has led the NBA’s handling of the coronavirus
Cuban was attending the Mavericks-Nuggets game when he found out the NBA was postponed due to Rudy Gobert’s positive coronavirus test. After the game, the Mavericks owner explained to reporters that he had program in place to aid arena workers. His decision to pay all arena workers led to other teams and players in the league pitching in to help their workers.
Cuban praised the NBA’s handling of the coronavirus crisis:
“I’m proud of (NBA Commissioner) Adam Silver,” Cuban said via WFAA. “I’m proud of the NBA and the way we’ve reacted. I think we’ve led the way, and hopefully will lead the way out of this.”
On March 12th, which was the day after the NBA’s postponement, Cuban said the NBA will do what is best for the fans and employees.
On that day, he also explained his plans for compensating employees in advance.