The NBA will spend approximately $170 million to play the remainder of the 19-20 season on the Disney campus in Orlando and as the seeding games conclude, Adam Silver spoke with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated on how things have gone to date.
"It’s better than what we had envisioned," said Silver of the NBA's restart in Orlando. "Players have taken to it in a more spirited way than we thought they would. We knew that this would require enormous sacrifice on everyone’s part, but I think that what is hard to calibrate—and this maybe goes to my experience when I first came into the arena—is the human emotion that comes with being around other people. And I think everyone realized they missed it more than they even understood. There are players either whose teams are not participating, who were unable to engage this summer because of injuries or other issues, who, once they spoke to fellow NBA players, have asked to join the experience down in Orlando.
"I think that it’s the togetherness, the camaraderie, the brotherhood of the players. That’s been the case for the coaches, the team staff and management as well. To take those masks off and bang into each other, whether it’s someone on your team or an opponent, it’s just a human craving we have for contact with other people."
Silver was then asked how confident he was that the NBA would get to this point.
"It has ebbed and flowed," said Silver. "I mean, there have been moments of great optimism, and there have been moments of despair. And I’d say even now, my confidence still ebbs and flows. I’m very aware of how this virus continues to, in many cases, surprise even the greatest experts who’ve spent a lifetime studying coronaviruses. I also recognize that the coronavirus isn’t the only thing that we have to be concerned with here. There’s the ongoing health of the players. There are typical injuries that happen, and we’ve been very watchful to see whether there’s an unusual rate of injuries, which we haven’t seen so far. There’s also the mental well-being of our players and the rest of the community, living on a campus. It’s been roughly three weeks so far, but for those teams that ultimately end up competing in the Finals for the championship, if everything goes according to plan, that’s still more than, well, roughly two months away, so it’s a long time of relative isolation."