Somehow it’s only been eight days since the NBA announced that the season would be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. It feels so much longer.
In those eight days, nearly every organized sports league on the planet has followed suit. MLB, NHL and MLS suspended operations the next morning, and the NCAA later that evening. It’s been a domino effect since then, with some leagues being relatively proactive, and others (like the UFC), hanging on as long as possible before regulations forced the inevitable.
Apparently the Big3 didn’t get the memo. Or, perhaps more accurately, they got the memo but felt compelled to create a solution (spoiler: not all problems have solutions).
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Big3 — the 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by Ice Cube — is planning the event that nobody asked for: A quarantined basketball tournament in April.
From the report:
The preseason tournament will feature 16 to 22 players from The Big3 who are negative for the coronavirus, and they will be quarantined in Los Angeles, sources said. . .
. . . To assure the league is operating under safe conditions, players will be quarantined in a large home provided by the league, sources said. A basketball court/facility will be built on site. If a player breaks quarantine at any point during the tournament, he would be eliminated and removed from the premises, sources said.
The games and the players’ daily lives will be captured on camera for added drama and storylines. The production crew would be stationed nearby but offsite from the players.
So, to recap: During a pandemic, we’re going to get a quarantined reality show basketball tournament. Because apparently Netflix and League Pass weren’t enough.
It’s easy to see the intent. The world is hurting, and people miss sports. If they could be responsibly provided, they could provide some much-needed joy and entertainment.
But oh my, just because something is good in its most basic theory doesn’t mean it’s worth pursuing and executing.
Having players quarantined doesn’t mean this is a safe and responsible activity. You still have:
- Players who have to test negative, which means you are testing entertainers instead of people showing symptoms.
- Players and a production crew travel.
- An entire basketball court built for you, by workers who should be isolating.
All for a limited amount of mediocre-quality basketball, and reality drama that you can easily get by streaming any of the multiple decades worth of Real World seasons.