Lebron James: ‘Not giv­ing up on the sea­son’

The State - - Sports - BY TIM REYNOLDS

Lebron James re­it­er­ated Mon­day that he is hope­ful the NBA sea­son can re­sume, with the caveat that the health and well-be­ing of play­ers won’t be jeop­ar­dized by a re­turn to play.

The Los Angeles Lak­ers star, speak­ing on the Un­in­ter­rupted plat­form’s “WRTS: Af­ter Party” show that was re­leased Mon­day, said it re­mains his wish that the sea­son comes back “sooner than later.” The NBA sus­pended the sea­son on March 11 be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, and two uniden­ti­fied mem­bers of the Lak­ers were among the league’s play­ers who sub­se­quently tested pos­i­tive for the virus.

“Def­i­nitely not giv­ing up on the sea­son,” James said. “Not only my­self and my team­mates, the Lak­ers or­ga­ni­za­tion, we want to play. There’s a lot of play­ers that I know per­son­ally that want to play. And ob­vi­ously, we don’t ever want to jeop­ar­dize the health of any of our play­ers or any of the play­ers’ fam­i­lies and so on and so on.

“This is a pan­demic that we have no idea (about). We can’t con­trol it,” James added.

James was among a group of some of the league’s high­est-paid play­ers, Na­tional Bas­ket­ball Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Chris Paul of the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der also part of the group, who met last week to talk about the sea­son. Those play­ers af­firmed to one an­other on that call that they would like to see the sea­son re­sume.

NBA Com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver told play­ers’ union mem­bers on May 8 that he was hop­ing to make some sort of de­ci­sion about the fu­ture of the sea­son within no more than a four-week win­dow. By that time­frame – bar­ring any ad­just­ments based on what’s hap­pen­ing with the pan­demic – Sil­ver and the NBA would be hop­ing to de­cide upon some course of ac­tion by June 5.

That said, there has been no de­fin­i­tive timetable from the NBA on when a de­ci­sion would be made. The league is prep­ping for many op­tions.

As of Mon­day, just over half of the league’s 30 fran­chises had re­opened their prac­tice fa­cil­i­ties for vol­un­tary work­outs. But other sports are show­ing promis­ing signs, with NAS­CAR restart­ing its sea­son this past week­end, base­ball work­ing through some plans that could lead to a sum­mer open­ing day, and live golf re­turn­ing to tele­vi­sion Sun­day with a skins game in South Florida.

James and the Lak­ers were atop the West­ern Con­fer­ence stand­ings when the NBA sus­pended play. At 49-14, the NBA’S sec­ond-best record be­hind Mil­wau­kee, the Lak­ers had al­ready clinched what would be their first play­off spot since 2013.

MARK J. TER­RILL AP

Los Angeles Lak­ers for­ward Lebron James said on a pod­cast that was re­leased Mon­day that he is not giv­ing up on the sea­son.

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