Kobe Bryant’s death devastated the basketball world.
The NBA even postponed the Lakers-Clippers game originally scheduled for tonight. That led to the question: Why didn’t the league postpone games Sunday, the day Bryant died? Obviously there should be special consideration in Los Angeles, where Bryant spent his entire career. But nobody – from those involved to onlookers – had their hearts and heads in Sunday’s games.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
No teams that played Sunday requested for games to be canceled, league sources say, but there is obviously no manual for dealing with a tragedy like this. Teams that did play Sunday were allowed to keep locker rooms closed pre-game to delay Kobe questions until after the games https://t.co/I4Rb5PGENl
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 27, 2020
I wonder how many teams thought to request a cancellation. I bet many awaited guidance from the league office.
Eight teams hosted games Sunday:
- Nuggets (vs. Rockets)
- Spurs (vs. Raptors)
- Hawks (vs. Wizards)
- Grizzlies (vs. Suns)
- Pelicans (vs. Celtics)
- Knicks (vs. Nets)
- Clippers (vs. Magic)
- Trail Blazers (vs. Pacers)
Postponing games (finding makeup dates, extra travel) or canceling games (refunding tickets, unbalanced schedules) would have created different headaches down the road. Maybe it would’ve been better to deal with those issues than playing. But playing also gave teams an opportunity to honor Bryant, find distraction amid grief and start the process of moving forward.
I wouldn’t get too hung up in the debate of whether the NBA should have canceled games Sunday. Whether or not games were played, Bryant was gone. There was no good solution here.