Commentary: Coronavirus has upended the sports world

Commentary: Coronavirus has upended the sports world

The NBA's season-suspending move due to COVID-19 started a domino effect across pro leagues, college sports and the Olympics.
Published: March 28, 2020
Madison. Square Garden empty basketball court
An empty Madison Square Garden court is an example of what we will see this season.

This didn’t feel real until the NBA season was suspended. You know in Beyoncé’s “Feelin’ Myself,” when she said, “world stop”? That’s what the sports world did when the NBA suspended the season, and we’ve yet to “carry on.”

Every time I get an ESPN notification I hear Beyoncé in my ears, I hear a worldwide gasp. The back to back events seem like they just won’t stop.

First, there was Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and the NBA; then, there was the NCAA going from playing at limited capacity to not playing at all. That put me – us – into our own state of March madness.

As if things weren’t real enough, Kevin Durant – one of my favorite players and Christian Wood – a player for my home team, tested positive for the virus.

Now, as rumors circulate of the NBA going straight to the playoffs if they resume, it won’t resume with fans. LeBron isn’t too keen on that, and neither am I.

“What is the word ‘sport’ without ‘fan’? There’s no excitement. There’s no crying. There’s no joy,” said James on the Road Trippin podcast.. Sports fans have been taking hit after hit this year and I don’t know if we’re equipped with the proper gear to handle it all.

As I was on Zoom yesterday, my professor began class asking how we’re doing and one of my classmates expressed the same frustration. He was supposed to be interning at the Olympics in Tokyo this summer and has to now change his plans. The most profound statement he made, though, “I didn’t realize how heavily sports consumed my life.”

Again, I felt it — “world stop.”

I couldn’t find a concrete explanation for this missing piece in regard to sports until he described the pit I’ve felt in my stomach since Gobert contracted COVID-19 and NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that this season would be no more.

Thinking he couldn’t dig deeper into my soul without even knowing it, he said, “I know the world has bigger issues than sports, but…” our professor cut him off. She said something along the lines of, “if it’s important to you, it’s important. No matter how big or small.”

She hit the nail on the head. This is of substantial importance to me. In less than two months, I’ll be a Syracuse University graduate starting my career – hopefully in sports journalism. As a professional and a fan – this is a lot. I feel for the sports media outlets who must find stories to keep their content and social media afloat without exhausting amounts of pandemic stories. I mean, who doesn’t love Kaavia Wade’s faces, LeBron’s Taco Tuesday, Steph Curry playing mini-golf inside his house or a list of song lyrics mentioning pro athletes?

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You already know what time it is in the James household ????????(via @kingjames)

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I must admit, I miss the notable game moments and post-game interviews. I don’t care about the trades, I miss game, draft and bracket predictions.

Drake said it – “nothing was the same.” Though they may have been on ‘mute’ at times, I now yearn for the conversations in group chats, with family and friends about the teams that should or shouldn’t have won.

There’s a piece of me missing. There’s no game to argue about on Twitter or Instagram, just outdated “who’d be on your starting five” conversations.