The teams of the franchise once again demonstrated the transformative power of sport in the world.
This was what we could see in the return of the NBA. / Photo: twitter.com/NBAonTNT
LatinamericanPost| Juan Manuel Londoño
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Leer en español: Así fue el regreso truinfal de la NBA
Last week, on August 30, the most important basketball league on the planet restarted, bringing joy to all sports fans around the world. And it is that the world needed the return of basketball to be able, even for a second, to remove thoughts away from the economic and social uncertainty it faces. Evidence of this is the 3.4 million viewers that average the return, more than double what the league usually has, according to Sports Illustrated.
This week we have witnessed some really impressive basketball games, but perhaps the ones that most reminded us why we love the sport were those two inaugural matches: Pelicans vs. Jazz and Clippers vs. Lakers. The two were extremely close matches, where we were able to watch the players doing their best to excite the fans.
Rudy Gobert, the Jazz center who was in trouble for downplaying the coronavirus early in the pandemic, had something of a redemption, scoring just enough to give his team the 106-104 victory. On the other hand, the Lakers '35-year-old superstar, Lebron James, demonstrated why they call him "The King," scoring the game's defining points, as well as playing an impressive defense with the Clippers' chances of winning. .
LeBron shows off his defense and locks up Kawhi pic.twitter.com/A2A7tvEAgA— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) July 31, 2020
There were many games that have taken place in an exciting way during this return, such as the Houston and Dallas match that went into overtime, or Monday's come back against the Bucks from the same rocket team, which managed to overcome a 9 point deficit in the last 3 minutes of the game . Without a doubt, the hunger of the players to return to the field is being demonstrated.
Bittersweet notes, however, were not lacking. Amid the racial conflict in the United States, players have bravely decided to kneel during the national anthem before each match, as well as deciding to add messages in support of Black Lives Matter to their jerseys. It's a call for social equity from a league that has historically seen the benefits of diversity and racial equality.
NBA players, coaches and referees took a knee during last night's national anthems. pic.twitter.com/qdL02CkzlB— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 31, 2020
Likewise, the Coronavirus pandemic has generated important changes in the presentation of games. Restricted camera angles to avoid the feeling of a full stadium, coaches with masks and a whole section of the coaching staff separated in a "fish tank" of the action are gray reminders of the crisis still facing the world. The league has worked hard to maintain the illusion of normalcy, which is why benches full of virtual fans are projected onto the walls.
In the midst of these solitary matches, facets of the game have also been seen that normally disappear in crowds. Player communication, for example, has become more apparent. Anecdotally speaking, it also seems that the referees are whistling for more fouls than usual. Could this be due to reduced pressure, not having to deal with viewers?
Amidst it all, it's fascinating to see how the NBA has returned with the uncertainty facing the world. Hopefully Commissioner Adam Silver's "bubble" can keep the Coronavirus out, because there's so much exciting basketball to watch.