NESN Diary: NBA Seems To Be Building Momentum For Return (And Other Random Thoughts)


May 13, 2020

Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways, and other cool tidbits we?ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We?re all in this together.

We don’t know when or if the NBA is coming back, and Adam Silver said he needs about two-to-four more weeks to make his decision.

But what we do know, is that the league loves conference calls. There have been a few different ones reported on lately, and they’ve been pretty productive from the sounds of it. Owners are satisfied with the positive momentum they’re seeing, and players revealed a majority of them actually want to come back, too, based on the reported results of a poll conducted by the Players’ Association.

A few of the leagues most elite players decided to get together on a call to establish a “united front in favor of resuming the season,” per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.

That exclusive call is said to have included LeBron James, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Steph Curry.

Hmm. No James Harden?

Were the rest of the guys on the call giving him the Isiah Thomas-treatment, 1992 Dream Team style? Or was Westbrook just taking notes for Harden. Awkward.

Boston Celtic and vice president of the NBPA Jaylen Brown on Wednesday went on CNN to discuss a more inclusive players-only call that took place Tuesday, revealing that the most influential players think its important to get back to play. And he said the general consensus among them is that the league will resume and go right into the NBA playoffs.

We’ll see how quickly things get moving, especially since the league hopes to have a majority of its teams opening their facilities back up for voluntary workouts as by Monday.

Here are a few more tidbits from Wednesday:

— There’s been a lot of updates on non-updates regarding the NBA and Major League Baseball lately, but NHL commissioner has come out and said he’s not contemplating canceling the season yet.

— Maybe the time is upon us to finally embrace soccer as a country.

Germany’s Bundesliga is the first of the European major soccer leagues to return this weekend, and Italy’s Serie A looks like it plans to get back in action soon. If it gets the green light, we’re looking at June 13.

That means Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo will be on our screens soon enough. Might I suggest, if you haven’t given soccer a chance yet, that’s a decent place to start.

— We learned of another downside to quarantining. If someone breaks into your house, you’re going to be home for it.

That’s what happened to Dele Alli, of the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspurs. Good news, though, despite being held at knifepoint and robbed of his watches, Alli and everyone with him is OK.

— Pumping in artificial crowd noise used to be frowned upon in the NFL. But according to FOX Sports commentator Joe Buck, that could be pretty standard across NFL broadcasts this year. And to take it even further, get ready for virtual fans. So weird. Just let us listen to the natural football noises of shoulder pads banging together and smack talk.

Anyways, the NFL also reportedly informed its teams that it’s extending its virtual offseason through the end of May.

Also, the Los Angeles Rams reveled their new uniforms. And hey, if the Rams players themselves like them, that’s all that matters, right?

— We got a positive update on Mohamed Sanu, who according to NFL Network’s Michael Giardi, has begun rehab on his surgically repaired ankle.

Speaking of New England Patriots wide receivers, Marqise Lee gave some insight as to why he signed with New England in a conference call, and may have unintentionally confirmed that Mick Lombardi now is the teams’ wideout coach.

It looks like there’s no bad blood after losing to the Pats in the 2017 AFC Championship Game while with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, he strangely “enjoyed” the loss.

— One last thing. That baseball autograph fundraiser I wrote about a few weeks ago started by Boston Red Sox beat writer Chris Cotillo (my friend and former MassLive colleague)? His efforts were able to raise more than $57,000. Wow. Thanks for the help spreading the word on the autograph auction, everyone.

Tweet of the Day:
Mookie Betts surprised shoppers in his native Tennessee by paying for their groceries, and treated the Kroger store’s employees to pizza. What a guy.

Stat of the Day:
Thanks, ESPN Stats & Info for reminding me that this was my favorite Bruins game I’ve ever watched.

Video of the Day:
I?m pretty sure this video defies physics. This kid’s touch is off the charts to sustain this as long as he did.

Thumbnail photo via Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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