Beginning today, the NBA will allow its players, who have been hunkered down as the league and the nation attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, to travel out of market. Players who have homes that aren’t near where their current teams play are able to go back to those homes, provided they keep their teams apprised of their location.
With that in mind, Lakers star LeBron James picked out some unusual travel plans, perhaps finding a unique way to dodge the virus and its ripple effects altogether: He’s packing up the family and going to Wakanda.
Well, maybe not.
But with the NBA season suspended for what commissioner Adam Silver originally said would be 30 days at minimum, the league is apparently bracing for a hiatus that will push deep into the spring. One report suggests the league could be out of action until June.
The NBA has banned practices and team meetings for 30 days, though around the league, teams are preparing to sit out longer than that. Players were originally ordered to stay near the teams that employ them but that order has been lifted.
New CDC Guidelines: No Mass Gatherings for 8 Weeks
On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control listed new guidance for dealing with the coronavirus in the U.S., which included a strict view on “mass gatherings” for the next eight weeks. The NBA is expected to abide by those guidelines.
Via the CDC website:
“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.
“Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
LeBron James Long a Fan of Black Panther
Little surprise that, in looking for a place to which to escape, even jokingly, James would choose Wakanda, the fictional setting for the movie, Black Panther. James has been exceedingly enthusiastic about the movie since its release two years ago.
At the 2018 NBA All-Star game, during his press conference, James spoke unsolicited about the film.
“What I haven’t talked about is how proud I am of the movie Black Panther,” he said. “And the reason, how proud I am of the movie is that, as a kid, the only people you felt like who could be superheroes were athletes and musicians. Because when I was growing up there was no superheroes like a Batman or a Superman or a Spiderman or Flash or Aquaman that were African-American. So I never thought I could be those people.”
But now here’s James ready to pull his family to Black Panther’s fictional home country in sub-Saharan Africa.
At least the idea made sense in his head and there may be some clue on this Twitter feed as to why that was. Two hours after his Wakanda tweet, James wrote: