There’s an ongoing debate about how the NBA should treat older coaches – Spurs’ Gregg Popovich (71), Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni (68) and Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry (65) – as the league resumes play amid the coronavirus pandemic. People 65 and older are generally at higher risk of suffering severe symptoms if they get coronavirus.
NBA team personnel are expected to be asked to submit personal medical histories to a panel of physicians who would review their individual risk of serious illness due to any spread of coronavirus in the NBA’s bubble environment in Orlando, sources tell ESPN.
It is unclear what authority, if any, that panel might have in prohibiting any personnel from attending Orlando — or placing limitations upon them — but there is some anxiety about such limitations among teams, sources say.
I have privacy concerns, even if the people behind this plan have good intentions.
I do believe NBA commissioner Adam Silver and other higher-ups at the league genuinely want to protect everyone in the bubble. I also believe people should usually decide for themselves how to live their own lives. So, that leaves a compelling debate on both sides.
But here’s what I can’t get past: It would look very bad for the NBA if a coach got coronavirus during the restarted season and dies. There’s just no way around that.
As Wojnarowski and Lowe explored, the law typically allows employees to decide on their own risk tolerance. But sometimes employees can be pushed toward discretion. As badly as he wanted to play despite the Heat and NBA deeming it unsafe for him to continue, Chris Bosh retired without playing another game.
Like with many things, coronavirus leaves no easy solutions here – just difficult decisions.