We’re just one day removed from a 2020 NBA champion being crowned, but of course, already are itching for more basketball.
The league previously said it would provide at least eight weeks notice ahead of when it hopes to start next season, but it’s looking less and less like we’ll have Christmas Day basketball.
More likely is a mid- to late-January start, and as previously reported by NBA Writer Keith Smith in a conversation with NESN, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is emerging as a good option to begin games.
John Hollinger, NBA writer for The Athletic and former Memphis Grizzlies executive, is hearing the same thing.
“It sure seems like Martin Luther King Day is the sweet spot for opening day,” Hollinger wrote in a column published Monday.
As noted by Hollinger, starting on MLK Day gives players the possibility to participate in the delayed Olympics, if they happen. The season also would finish before the Tokyo Games and 2021 NFL season begin, so no competition for ratings there if the NBA attempts to fit a full 82 games into a realistic 150-day season time frame.
“For starters, I’ve heard people in the league talking about a potential MLK date for a while, even as the ‘official’ word was targeting December,” Hollinger wrote.
“Logistically, this seems about the limit of how far they want to push the date back. Going any later moves the bulk of the playoffs deeper into summer and perhaps even into competing with the NFL, like it did this year. Plus, there’s an accordion effect on the following season as well – at some point, the league needs to get back to something closer to its normal schedule.”
This option would be fitting, as the NBA usually goes the extra mile to celebrate the holiday to begin with, but has vowed to raise more awareness and do more to positively impact social justice.
We’ll see how it plays out, but it looks like we can pencil that in for basketball’s return.