Malcolm Brogdon

NBA releases new social justice video: ‘The Truth Is #BlackLivesMatter’

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Numerous NBA players have taken part in — and in some cases led — Black Lives Matter protests around the nation.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon, Jaylen Brown, Karl-Anthony Towns, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan, Tobias Harris, Mattise Thybulle, Damian Lillard, and many other NBA players took to the streets as part of the protests of police brutality that rose up in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis Police officer. NBA owners — Mark Cuban and Vivek Ranadive — as well as front office people such as Elton Brand were at protests as well.

The NBA weaved footage of a lot of those players together in a new social justice brand video focusing on the social justice movement and the league’s commitment to it.

NBA announces positive coronavirus tests for 16 of 302 players (5.3%)

Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and Kings guard Buddy Hield
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The NBA is ramping up coronavirus testing as players report to their teams in advance of resuming at Disney World. Players who’ve reportedly tested positive so far.

That’s just the start, though.

NBA and NBPA release:

In tests conducted of 302 NBA players on June 23, 16 players have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician.

That’s 5.3%.

Don’t compare this to positive test rates for states or countries. Those tests tend to be done on people who show symptoms or came into contact with someone who tested positive. That skews the rate up. NBA players are tested simply because they’re showing up to work.

COVID-19 Projections estimates 0.47% of people in the United States are currently infected. Translated to 302 players, that rate would mean just one positive test.

But NBA players have different risk profiles than the overall population. There are reasons NBA players could have lower rates of infection (high salaries that allow them to live comfortably without needing to take risk). But there are stronger reasons NBA players could have higher rates:

  • NBA players are young. Young people tend to have less-severe symptoms. So, young people tend to engage in behavior that carries greater risk of contracting coronavirus.
  • NBA players tend to live in big cities, where teams are located. Many big cities have been hit hard.
  • NBA players train strenuously. Heavy breathing can spread coronavirus. There are plenty of videos of NBA players playing crowded gyms.

A good comparison? The NHL. Last week, the NHL announced 11 players of more than 200 tested multiple times were diagnosed with coronavirus (5.2% if that were 210 players).

Expect even more NBA players to test positive. For one, full rosters for the continuing 22 teams would be 374 players. That leaves many more players to be tested. There are also nearly two weeks before players travel to Orlando. That leaves more time for players to contract coronavirus in their own communities.

It wouldn’t be surprising if 20-30 NBA players test positive for coronavirus as testing ramps up before teams reach Disney World.

These numbers already are certainly shocking people. That response is a massive PR blunder by the NBA, which should have better set expectations for the public.

But it’s not an indication the NBA’s safety plan is failing.

NBA players testing positive now shows the dangers of the larger world, where NBA players have been living and coronavirus is a very-real threat. The bubble in Disney World will be a FAR more controlled environment with tight restrictions and frequent testing. The idea is to detect coronavirus now, before players it into Disney World.

Positive tests in later phases would have different meanings.

Dr. Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist:

There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the NBA’s plan:

  • Rising infection rates in Florida, which increases risk if the NBA’s bubble is infiltrated
  • A short initial quarantine when players arrive in Disney World (two negative tests spaced 24 hours apart), which risks players contracting coronavirus shortly before arriving and not having it show up on tests before they enter the larger bubble
  • Players – especially players sidelined by coronavirus – having a tight window to train after a long layoff, which increases risk of injury

But these results? This is the system working.

Report: More NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus than reported so far

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Jazz center Rudy Gobert
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At least 19 NBA players have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus:

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

I can tell you for a hundred percent fact: There are more players that have tested positive than have been reported or revealed.

To some degree, I understand players wanting to maintain their privacy – especially once they stopped interacting with masses of fans who’d benefit from being alerted.

But that’s generally not how the NBA works. Player injuries are announced, and we have repeatedly been told – as the NBA tries to resume its season – to treat coronavirus like an injury for players. The NBA’s push to draw revenue from gambling has been bolstered by promoting transparency, at least on paper. This violates that spirit.

It’s especially troubling as the league launches an ambitious plan for playing amid the pandemic. There are reasons to believe the plan is sound. There are reasons to believe the plan has shortcomings. But the NBA should be open with the underlying data.

As of mid-May, all the diagnosed players reportedly recovered in short order. Hopefully, the fact that other players have kept their diagnoses secret suggests they also recovered without complications.

Report: Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. tests positive for COVID-19

Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr.
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Living in a world with coronavirus, NBA players are contracting coronavirus. The league has ramped up testing in advance of resuming at Disney World, with several players testing positive:

Add Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. to the list.

Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald:

Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. tested positive for COVID-19, a league source told the Miami Herald.

Jones, 23, has been asymptomatic and still expects to participate in the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. He was tested Tuesday, when mandatory COVID-19 testing for NBA players and staff began to be issued on a regular basis.

Hopefully, Jones recovers as quickly as he desires.

The reigning dunk-contest champion, Jones is a helpful member of Miami’s rotation. He’d be a notable loss for a team with a chance to make a deep playoff run.

At least the Heat loaded up at forward just before the trade deadline, acquiring Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill.

Jones faces far more uncertainty. Approaching unrestricted free agency this offseason, the undrafted player has a chance at his first relatively lucrative contract.

Kings forward Jabari Parker tests positive for coronavirus

Jabari Parker coronavirus
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As the NBA ramps up coronavirus testing in advance of resuming at Disney World, players – who, like everyone, live in a world plagued by coronavirus – are predictably testing positive. So far:

Now, Kings forward Jabari Parker.

James Ham of NBC Sports California:

It’s good Parker’s COVID-19 was detected. Hopefully, he recovers quickly enough – and without long-terms complications – to join Sacramento in Disney World, as he desires. That he finds that goal realistic is a positive indicator of his current condition.

Parker, who holds a $6.5 million player option for next season, has at least some contractual security.

The Kings enter the resumption as playoffs longshots. This explains why they signed Corey Brewer. Parker more power forward/small forward, and Brewer is more small forward/shooting guard. But if Marvin Bagley III is healthy, Sacramento will have another option at power forward, anyway.