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NBA commissioner Adam Silver 'anxious' but confident on eve of restart

On the eve of his league's return after a 20-week hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NBA commissioner Adam Silver maintained confidence in the restart plan while also admitting he was "anxious."

"Obviously, we're seeing what's happening in baseball with the Marlins so it's something we continue to track very closely," Silver said Wednesday on "Good Morning America." "Having said that, we have confidence in the protocol that we designed."

The New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz square off in the first game of the restart Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET inside of the "bubble" at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex and surrounding resorts. Silver said that the surge of cases in Florida, a coronavirus hot spot, is being monitored by the league. He also reiterated the NBA is testing everyone on the campus daily.

"Jokingly, and it may not be so funny, we say ‘The safest place in the world might be on this campus at Disney right now,’" Silver said.

As for whether there is a plan in place to respond to an outbreak, such as what the Marlins experienced, Silver responded: "We do, but it’s not an exact science because nobody’s ever done this before. I think we have plans in place where we might pause, similar to what baseball is doing now. Probably, if we had any significant spread is immediately stop. One thing we’d try do is try to track those cases to determine where they’re coming from and whether there had been spread on campus. Ultimately, I think we would cease completely if we saw that it was spreading around the campus and something more than an isolated case was happening."

Pausing wouldn't be ideal for anyone, but Silver said the league's guidepost throughout the planning process has revolved around health and safety primarily.

Aside from health concerns, players advocating for social justice has already been prevalent throughout training camp and scrimmages in Florida. Silver specifically mentioned that the killing of George Floyd in May nearly derailed plans for the restart.

"Right at a time when we were making our plans to relaunch the season is when the death of George Floyd occurred," Silver said. "It, frankly, almost prevented us from relaunching the season, given the turmoil and how emotional people were around league and around the country, for that matter. It was very important (for) them to come together to figure out what we could do to use this platform to affect change."

Silver realizes messaging is only part of the issue, but "Black Lives Matter" will be printed on the courts. Some players will be wear messages on the backs of their their jerseys. Silver also said the league is working collectively with all 30 teams to create a foundation dedicated to economic empowerment, specifically focused on Black Americans.

Some form of unified protest is expected from all teams; the NBA has a decades-old rule stating players must stand for the national anthem.

"I respect peaceful protest," he said. "I’m not sure what our players will do when they come out on the court (Thursday) night."

Related Photos
<strong>Feb 15, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a press conference during NBA All Star Saturday Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports</strong>

Feb 15, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a press conference during NBA All Star Saturday Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b34e097f4e18961e8e6ec3017dec66df.jpg" alt="Photo - Feb 15, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a press conference during NBA All Star Saturday Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports " title=" Feb 15, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a press conference during NBA All Star Saturday Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports "><figcaption> Feb 15, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a press conference during NBA All Star Saturday Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports </figcaption></figure>
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