“I love, obviously, to play the game of basketball and always want to be on the court, but serious stuff is going on in the world right now,” Houston Rockets guard James Harden told Insider. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Navy training plane crashes into Alabama neighborhood, killing 2 pilots, A 24-year-old engineer created a website that tells you if your McDonald's has a working ice-cream machine. A preseason game in Shanghai, China, offered Jared Dudley, a 34-year-old forward who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason, a chance to visit the country for the first time. "I feel like I'm still carrying it with me as it relates to the inspiration or the just intentionality through which I'm trying to live every day," Forcier said. But then on January 26, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and six other passengers got into a helicopter to fly to a practice at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California. All of it damaged a profitable relationship the league had spent decades building. Players, coaches, and staff would be quarantined between games and tested frequently. A GM said several players on his team had every one of Bryant’s signature shoes. Finally, an unprecedented global crisis brought play to a halt for the first time in NBA history. It was the final twist in an already dramatic season plagued by controversy and tragedy. “We really tried to be direct as possible, us among the players, and obviously Spo [coach Erik Spoelstra] to us, as well, about what we needed to adjust.”. On January 26, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash with seven other people. The NBA, like most other facets of society, is searching for a way to come back. Inside the league office, uncomfortable questions were raised: If games were canceled for Bryant's death, what would happen when the next former player died? "Playing, at this point, to me, is not even — that's not even at my forefront right now. It's hard to overstate Bryant's impact on the league. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a death of someone who was so global, who means so much to one team, that passed away early, especially tragically,” Dudley said. “I didn’t take it as serious as you should have, maybe.”. For the Boston Celtics, the airing of grievances came too late, after they lost 106-101 Thursday night, now left to simmer until Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. Game 3 of these best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals. Officer charged with manslaughter in George Floyd’s death released from jail… “So, got to get back to being that, which we’ve been at times. I think there’s a lot of people that still have that at some level of their consciousness.”. Our team literally crisscrossed the country twice in that period of time. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. Veteran NBA agent Mark Bartelstein said some players have been doing sprints in their backyards, though others live in apartments without outdoor space. Young talent like Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson, and Trae Young exploded onto the scene. Just hours later, Gobert tested positive, and the season was put on hold. the NBA agent and former player B. J. Armstrong said. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver flew in to meet with the players, who expressed frustration at being placed in the middle of the crisis with an expectation that they would comment on it. LeBron James and Anthony Davis may not get a chance to lead the Lakers to a championship this season. The Golden State Warriors dynasty had been broken up. That night’s action was the last basketball for the foreseeable future. And the ramifications was money.". The Chinese Basketball Association cut ties with the Rockets. Some bought exercise machines. It symobilizes a website link url. Subscribe to our daily newsletter to get more of it. “I wouldn’t have played any NBA games that day,” Dudley said. "Spo is going to do it. “We get down at times,” forward Jimmy Butler said, “but we never hang our heads, because we know if we play the right way, we give ourselves a chance to win.”. Harden said that at this point, given the lingering uncertainty, he's still unsure of how to think about the season. “At halftime, we didn’t panic, and we didn’t talk about our offense, if I’m honest,” guard Goran Dragic said. Our data provider is having technical issues, live scoring and stats are impacted. Kelvin Kuo/AP Images Ezra Shaw/Getty Images; Justin Tafoya/Getty Images; Olivia Reaney/Insider. John Bazemore/AP Images. “Individually working out and then playing actual five-on-five where there’s contact, and there’s a split decisions that have to be made, it’s totally different,” he said. As the clock wound down in the Miami Heat-Charlotte Hornets game on March 11, the Hornets were desperately trying to hold off a fourth-quarter surge from their opponents. Chinese broadcasters announced that they'd stop showing NBA games. We know when we’re not playing the way that we’re supposed to be playing. The isolation was part of the NBA’s efforts at damage control after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for protesters in Hong Kong. "Individually working out and then playing actual five-on-five where there's contact, and there's a split decisions that have to be made, it's totally different," he said. Teams sent players packages of workout equipment, including weights and bands. "I think players will understand because of the financial ramifications," Dudley said. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories, tweeted his support for protesters in Hong Kong, got into a helicopter to fly to a practice, forced the Los Angeles Police Department to ground its helicopters. Chiu/AP Images. The inside story of an NBA season derailed by controversy, a tragic... Pence: Biden and His Family Have ‘to Come Forward’, Voters Know Biden and Harris ‘Are Going to Pack the Court’, French Teachers Receive Death Threats Referencing Terror Attack, ‘We Will Cut Your Head Off’: French Mayor Threatened, ‘We Have Everybody at the Table’ and ‘Different Exuberances’ in Climate…, Illinois officer fired after killing teen, critically injuring another during vehicle…, Former teacher gets four-year sentence after sending nudes to three 13-year-old…, California Police Department faces backlash after OIS of suspect who was…, Man steals from San Fran. “All it takes is just one player, one coach, one staff member to get infected, and their entire $8-billion-per-year-in-revenue operation could be in jeopardy,” he wrote on March 11. But despite the support, they just weren't as good a team as Jordan was used to. It impacts the bottom line for everybody," one NBA general manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topics, told Insider. The 2019-20 NBA season has been derailed by international conflict, tragedy, and a pandemic. But right now, they’re a better team.”. We just want to win those games and try to compete and play better.”. "No way! … “We’re not beating this team if we’re not completely connected on both ends of the court,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. Players paid tributes with messages on their shoes. The league, however, has mostly moved past the idea. The NBA canceled the game, then it suspended the season minutes later. "All it takes is just one player, one coach, one staff member to get infected, and their entire $8-billion-per-year-in-revenue operation could be in jeopardy," he wrote on March 11. “That’s the hundred-million-dollar question,” Bartelstein told Insider. So as soon as anybody in the traveling party would have had it, we would have passed it around to each other.”. What follows is an inside account of this whirlwind season, based on interviews with league sources including front-office members, coaches, players, and agents. The Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers said members of the organization have tested positive but did not specify who. “No way! Despite the rocky start to the season, the basketball lived up to the preseason hype. Well, because of that freedom of speech, there’s some ramifications. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts "That's the hundred-million-dollar question," Bartelstein told Insider. He told Insider that he was excited to see the sights, try the food, and watch fans’ reactions to his superstar teammates, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. Press J to jump to the feed. "It just depends on how the season finishes. Just as Michael Jordan influenced an entire generation of basketball players, Bryant was a beacon for many of today's players. Then in March, play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, pushing the league into uncharted waters, with no clear path back to playing. “You’re talking about a pretty significant loss of revenue. “The major question is, when can it be in everyone’s best interest to be able to be in large groups without contracting or spreading this virus?” NBA agent and former player B.J.