How has it only been 6 days without basketball? It feels like it's been 84 years. I've been going crazy by simulating the NCAA Tournament, consistently going to the same websites for hoops news and then just twiddling my thumbs. But now? NOW we are about to have hoops in our lives. Do I care that it's taking place in Asia? Nope. You know why, because desperate times call for desperate measures.
We have a few leagues getting ready to play - and you know what? They aren't THAT BAD of leagues (via ESPN):
Games in South Korea, a country that drew worldwide praise for its success in containing the virus, seem closest to returning. South Korea's league, the KBL, has games scheduled at the end of March, though in empty arenas. Many teams will see their American players landing in airports around the country over the next week, several agents told ESPN.
The South Korean league has been suspended since late February, and many foreign players elected to return home for their scheduled four-week hiatus. Not all foreign players will return, but it appears enough will to attempt to play games in two weeks.
A meeting for Chinese Basketball Association officials was held Monday to discuss the format for resumption of the league, including the option of continuing with only local Chinese players on rosters, several sources told ESPN.
Several agents ESPN spoke with say they have been guaranteed in writing that any American who returns will be compensated for time spent in China, as well as any back pay owed.
CBA teams decided Monday that international players who refuse to return to China will be banned for three years, sources told ESPN, although this is not an official league policy. Teams will play four games a week, behind closed doors, for one month before the playoffs start in mid-May, sources said.
The CBA is one of the most well-known leagues in the world - arguably because of Donnie Does, arguably because of Steph Marbury. I'll let you decide who made this league go global. Now the whole international players who refuse to return to China getting a 3-year ban is fucking insane. But, again, it's China. I just can't imagine having to make that decision as a player who is trying to feed his family. There are PLENTY of big names in the CBA. Some guys currently on rosters include: Jeremy Lin, Epke Udoh, Kyle Fogg, Von Wafer, Carl Landry, Lance Stephenson, Brandon Bass, Dakari Johnson, Ty Lawson, Shabazz Muhammad, Cole Aldrich, MarShon Brooks, Yabu, Jimmer, Luis Scola, Jared Sullinger and Tyler Hansbrough. Just the perfect list of guys where you go OHHH YEAH, HIM! It's like watching a Summer League game.
But the fact is we're just a few weeks away from watching basketball. Is it the NCAA Tournament? Hell no. Is it the NBA regular season? Not even close. But it's something we can put on during weird hours and help scratch our sports itch. I've said it before but right now the goal is to just get by day by day. For us in the sports world, it's hoping there's some sort of news we can all talk for a day. Some sort of argument we all can have. Whatever it might be. Now it might be picking a Chinese or Korean Basketball team and watching a couple former college/NBA guys playing.
The moment this comes back I'll get Donnie on the horn (if he even responds considering he's in the Bahamas) and we'll come up with some sort of watch guide, pick a team, whatever. This is our life now. We're all in on CBA and KBL. Basketball is back .. kind of.