2020 NBA World Champions....COVID-19?
An unimaginable & unthinkable season to forget but one that will always be remembered.
December 31, 2019 I spent safe and sound in my home with the kids, thinking about the year 2020 as one of my highlight years as I turn the big 4-0...yikes.
I was ready to get through the remainder of this trash season for both Warriors and Bulls, hoping I didn’t have to see the Lakers in the finals and ready to see what off season brings.
Then January 26, 2020 happened...
This is my first time putting this day into words.
I had just awoken from my usual Sunday nap, my oldest daughter walked in my room on her phone and said “My friend says Kobe died”. I scoffed in denial and berated said friend ”they don’t even watch basketball!”
Still a little thrown off by her just saying that, I immediately went to my Twitter and Facebook feed for any info. I saw a few tweets and posts from non-reputable sites so I scrolled until I saw CNN. Tears instantly welled up, anxiety took over, heart started racing fast and I sat down on the side of my bed depressed.
This reaction was the biggest shock to me. Not that the death of Kobe isn’t shocking but I despised Kobe as a player from 1996 until easily, 2011. He was too much like my favorite player, the GOAT, he always hit the dagger to send the team I rooted for to the proverbial playoff couch and of course, the Shaq snitch thing.
I even was a staunch Lebron fan because I finally thought here’s someone to knock Kobe off his throne and lived up to the hype (I was wrong about knocking off the throne part but that’s for another blog).
I turned the tide completely on how I felt about Kobe his farewell season. I was no longer the teenager mad that he and the Lakers were taking back the NBA only a few years after my beloved Bulls dynasty run.
I was now a defender of Kobe to Lebron stans. They didn’t watch this man take your heart out in .02 seconds. They didn’t know the fear you had as an opposing fan when the ball was in his hand. They say they do....but not really.
When I sat down on the side of my bed, I could not believe the extreme grief I had for the loss of life for someone I despised for almost his entire career. The years he spent in retirement made me look at him in an entirely different light. He was a girl dad and a good damn coach. I was anticipating him and Gigi revolutionizing the entire WNBA in a few years and making it into the league we all want to see. I lost my appetite for days, couldn’t stop thinking about he and Gigi’s last moments.
I should have been more scared for 2020 than I was going forward.
Still trying to process Kobe’s death in general, I enterEd into February anticipating the all star game but obviously not as hyped as I was before. The NBA all star weekend gave a chance for an emotional release for the pain inside of many, Kobe’s death had caused.
The second half of the season was to go as expected, fans watch the bottom teams of the conferences battle it out for the last few playoff spots and wait for the matchup of the year, Lakers/Clippers in the WCFs.
But as the year showed it’s true colors, there was something else unexpected on the sidelines.
For weeks, my social media friends and I laughed, shared GIFs and memes about this new disease COVID-19 aka Coronavirus. No one expected this disease to impact the United States, let alone life as we know it.
March 10, 2020 was my mom’s 75th birthday. I was devastated when she called me at work to tell me she didn’t want to go out to dinner that night due to the Coronavirus. Though she met all the requirements as someone to be at high risk for this disease, I still thought she was going overboard. That evening, I began to hear that the Warriors/Nets game may be held without fans. This caused me to pause but still thinking maybe everyone is over doing things. This can’t be that bad, right?
March 11, 2020 evening, I was finally home from work, searching for a game to watch and relax for the evening. I finally settled on OKC/Jazz matchup. It should be a good western conference game I thought.
I was watching the game and scrolling on Twitter and I noticed the game hadn’t started yet. My son and I looked at each other as the refs met at half court thinking, “uh oh”. The moment they grabbed their jackets and left the court I knew this was very bad.
Before the evening was over, not only was the NBA season suspended but Tom Hanks and his wife also revealed they had Coronavirus. Life as we knew it was instantly changing.
Within two days, schools in Chicago were making the decision to close indefinitely, working from home became a real reality, and the number of cases/deaths were rising.
Here we are two months removed, the NBA is still suspended, many of us are still in shelter in place by force or choice.
Unpopular take- I honestly don’t think the NBA should return this season. I know my opinion will seem biased by the records of my favorite teams but there are just too many unknowns with this virus and how to protect players through any kind of shortened playoff run. I know the financial ramifications of cancellation will be beyond significant but the question becomes health or money?
Never in my (almost 40 years) did I imagine the state of the NBA and the world as it is currently. Literally never.
I’m terrified to think what else 2020 has in store for us but it can only look up...
Kobe and Gigi