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Volume 27 No. 7
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Adam Silver Talks NBA Bubble Planning, Player Advocacy

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discussed "resuming play, the league's support of social justice and plans for next season" in a Q&A with Chris Mannix of SI.com. Below are excerpts from the Q&A, some of which have been edited for clarity and brevity:

Q: As you pieced this [bubble] plan together, was there one issue you kept coming back to?
Silver: Testing. How those protocols would work in terms of daily testing, whether we were comfortable that sufficient tests were available, that we were not taking those tests away from the surrounding community, that we could turn those tests around on a rapid-enough basis to make it workable.

Q: Anything you wish you could have done?
Silver: I’d say my biggest disappointment is that we couldn’t find a sensible way to bring 30 teams down there. We know everything here involves compromises, but I do feel bad there are eight teams that are not part of the experience.

Q: There were huge financial consequences if the NBA didn’t come back. What would have been the fallout if the league couldn’t return?
Silver: In terms of a net basis, it’s not as dramatically different as people might think, because it is so costly to do what we’re doing in Orlando.

Q: The NBA has been supportive of player advocacy ... When the issue of kneeling during the anthem came up in 2017, you were pretty clear that you expected players to stand. What made this different?
Silver: The killing of George Floyd has been a turning point. ... We were not in a position, given that we were attempting to return to play in the middle of all the social unrest, to avoid being part of the conversation ... given that some of the most high-profile Black people in the world play in the NBA.

Q: You mentioned next season. How deep into the planning stages are you?
Silver: We are deep into the planning stages, but only to the extent that we have dozens of permutations as we look into next season. It’s certainly not bubble or bust. Our first and highest priority would be to find a way to have fans in our arenas (SI.com, 8/13).