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Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: How the coronavirus stole basketball

<p>Miami Heat&#x27;s Meyers Leonard plays against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 22 at AmericanAirlines Arena.</p>

Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard plays against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 22 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Every fan in America liked hoops a lot. But the coronavirus from out east did not. It loathed basketball for whatever reason. Thus, the NBA halted its season.

There should be no crowds, packed in so tight, but the league’s Disney “bubble” might block out the blight. Now 22 teams have the chance to play ball, with the Finals presumably coming this fall. 

So far the juiciest tidbit of news is some players’ obsessions with speed-drinking booze. The Heat’s Meyers Leonard has taken the crown as the fastest contender to gulp a beer down. These lighthearted contests help temper my fear. Basketball’s coming — it’s practically here. 

Regardless, my heartbeat is nervously drumming. The virus may yet keep the season from coming. Despite every caution the bubble employs, can Disney World once again offer us joy? 

Since risks are as high as Mo Bamba is tall, there’s no guaranteeing July basketball. There remain several problems the matchups could bring, and one positive test will shut down the whole thing.

The NBA’s been careful up until now. There are very few freedoms its guidelines allow. Strict curfews and borders might do the trick, though it’s still possible that somebody gets sick. 

Athletes can’t exit the campus’ bounds. When they do, a “snitch line” ensures they are found. 

This tactic has one player scratching his head. “I think it’s sort of petty,” Rudy Gobert said. Maybe the Jazz center forgot a few facts. The road to contagion is marked with his tracks.

The NBA’s first confirmed case was Gobert, right after he rubbed microphones without care. Germs, not laughter, was all the joke shared. His teammates forgave him, therefore I have too. He realized this ailment is more than the flu. 

So it’s back to crossovers, slam dunks and free throws. The race to the playoffs is ready to go. 

Each Ja Morant jam is an antidepressant, even though Grizzlies fans cannot be present. He’ll stuff rims like stockings, moving so nimbly. Watch him ascend skyward like Santa up chimneys.

And let’s not forget Milwaukee’s own beast. With Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks rule the East. 

I yearn for the shots JJ Redick will splash. Such sharp-shooting has not been seen since Steve Nash. His teammate, Zion Williamson, will also hook me. How can this goliath be only a rookie? 

Kawhi Leonard’s defense is a gift from above, but Paul George also stays on his man like a glove. Somebody might slow these Clippers, but who? The neighboring Lakers own a fearsome two.

Anthony Davis cannot be denied now that he has LeBron James on his side. The Pelicans almost botched his whole career, but Davis’ dreams of winning have grown near. 

Russell Westbrook is a known frequent flyer as he soars to the rim like he’s raised by a wire. He and James Harden, in bright Rockets red, slide past defenses as if on a sled. 

I can’t wait to see them blast through half-court trappings, even if there is no audience clapping. An empty arena is one big, glum pit. There’s no noise from fans, so speakers pump it

Seeing mere scrimmages widens my eyes, even as COVID-19 cases rise. It did not stop basketball from coming — it came. In spite of the danger, it came just the same.

It’s unclear what the following months have in store. I expect buzzer beaters and upsets and more. Crazy things happen when these athletes play. Who knows? Ben Simmons may hit a 3-pointer one day. 

At any one moment, the season could cease. We’ll still have the beer-chugging contests, at least.

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