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Clippings: The NBA is coming back (to a different world)

But, the plan is in place for basketball games.

LA Clippers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Well, the big news on the sporting front is that the NBA will be returning, reportedly on July 31, with a 22-team format. I must admit I find it truly weird that a portion of teams are sitting out even though they’re still playing regular-season games, but for logistical and safety reasons, cutting the group down makes some sense.

Blake has the basics of the plan in Thursday’s post on the matter.

Here’s a travel guide of Orland— you know what, you don’t need that, never mind.

Seriously, I think this story at The Ringer from Rob Mahoney does a good job rooting the return to play plan within the greater context around society right now. The twin rails of the coronavirus and ongoing protests to demand equality, equal treatment and justice for all absolutely put this unprecedented plan to restart the NBA in context. Protests are a massive story for understanding the world beyond the court that still impacts all of us, while the coronavirus threatens to stop the league again in its tracks. You may be excited, indifferent, or a combination of the two for the NBA coming back at the end of July, but we’re getting used to being in new scenarios, and here’s one more that is (hopefully) coming.

More news for this Friday:

  • Technically the players haven’t signed off on the plan just yet: Adrian Wojnarowski thinks Friday’s vote by the players is a mere formality, but hey, we’re living in strange times so we’ll see what happens.
  • A player testing positive would not stop restart: In the same story, Woj says one player who tests positive would be isolated and play would continue without him. But if a team has an outbreak...well, I guess they’re just crossing fingers and toes that won’t happen.
  • Bite-size takeaways of the restart plan: If you need some talking points for your zoom meeting or group text or whatever, The Ringer has a handy list of big narratives for the restart.
  • The friendship that brought the NBA back together: Ramona Shelburne recounts the friendship between Chris Paul and Disney chairman Robert Iger, and how that’s symbolic of the process of the NBA getting back to play.