Remember back when the star player of a championship team would come off the field (or court) and announce “I’m going to Disneyland!”?
Well, as far as the National Basketball Association is concerned, everybody’s going to Disneyland this year. Sort of. Instead of all the travel and other risks posed by the back-and-forth of a more typical NBA season, this truncated campaign – interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic – will take place all in one location.
That’s the campus of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. As with other big league sports teams getting back into action, these games will be played without fans. That’s not catastrophic for the owners because most of their money comes from TV broadcasts, which will be carried on ESPN and ABC (both of which are owned by Disney).
The COVID-19 shutdown came with the season already about three-quarters finished. The Lakers, for instance, had a 49-14 record (63 games) when the plug was pulled; the Clippers were at 44-20 (64 games).
The 22 teams entering this weird denouement will start with eight “seeding” games to determine the playoff situation. The first round of the playoffs will start on Aug. 17. The conference semifinals start on Aug. 31, with the conference finals starting on Sept. 15, and the NBA finals on Sept. 30.
That’s almost to the start of the next season, right? Well, close. The beginning of the 2020-2021 was supposed to be Oct 21, but is now set for Dec. 1, with the playoffs starting in April and the NBA Finals in June.
Wild, eh? Well, that’s why we call this column the “The Wild World of Sports”
Sports This Week: Baseball AND basketball underway
What “local” – if you consider Los Angeles-based teams local – pro sports teams are scheduled for this week.
- Angels: Finish a series in Oakland today (Monday) , then come home on Tuesday to begin a series hosting the Seattle Mariners at the Big A. On Friday, they start a three-game series in Anaheim hosting the Houston Astros.
- Dodgers: On the road for the first time in the young 2020 season, playing the Astros Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday they are visiting the Arizona Diamondbacks through Aug. 2.
- Lakers: Resuming a season interrupted, the two L.A. teams – the Lakers and Clippers – will meet on Thursday in Florida. On Saturday it’s the Lakers at the Toronto Raptors.
- Clippers: In addition to the Laker showdown, the Clips will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday in the Sunshine State.
Wild World of Sports is posted on Monday.