DeAndre Jordan. Avery Bradley. David Bertans. Trevor Ariza. Willie Cauley-Stein. Wilson Chandler.
Whether for COVID reasons or personal reasons, these are the players that have already announced that they will be sitting out this season’s NBA restart. For the record, I’m fully in support of anyone who makes this decision. I know that Cauley-Stein, for example, and his partner are expecting a newborn in August. With the rise of COVID cases, especially in Texas where Cauley-Stein live, it’s not worth the risk to his child to play.
However, and no offense to these guys I’ve listed above, but they’re not the stars that keep the NBA rolling which puts the overwhelming support that they have received from the majority of the NBA community into question. Would the support from other players and fans be as strong if a star player decided to sit out?
I think that there would be a much different sentiment towards sitting out if it involved players like LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo. There would be some support, but we’d start seeing segments from memes like Skip Bayless and Collin CowTURD (nice) about how selfish these players are being. They would call into question their true desire to win.
We’re already beginning to see it with Dwight Howard who is thinking about sitting out in an effort to not detract from the BLM movement taking place around the country. Howard isn’t a star any more, but he’s a big enough name that he’s drawn the scrutiny and ire of Lakers fans and sports pundits.
Justice Winslow, the 10th overall pick in 2015 and a big part of the young Memphis Grizzlies core, is considering sitting out because he’s not convinced that the NBA is taking all of the COVID precautions that they need to take.
As we get closer to the re-start of the NBA season and more players begin to announce that they will be sitting out, it will be interesting to see if any superstar players decide to cross that line. And, if they do, how many of their teammates and peers will follow along?
I think that we could end up seeing a very watered-down NBA when all of this is said and done.