Almost a year into the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is still figuring out its new normal.
In the spring, after the virus put all gatherings on hold—including basketball games—the league’s top 22 teams headed to Disney World resorts to quarantine in what became widely known as the NBA bubble. There, they finished out the 2019-2020 season, with the Los Angeles Lakers taking home the championship in what will most likely always been known as professional basketball’s longest (and strangest) season.
Today, as COVID cases continue to surge, sports organizations are still determining what’s next, questioning whether to allow fans into their stadiums to enjoy a much-needed escape from reality. And while cities like L.A. and NYC are still shut down, my hometown of Tampa has been working to reopen its venues. And, being the absolute sports lover I am, I was thrilled to hear sports arenas would start having fans attend games.
Now, normally, that news wouldn’t have made a difference here, since Tampa doesn’t actually have an NBA team. But, in true 2020 fashion, nothing is normal. As a result of the pandemic, the U.S.-Canada border has been closed for non-essential travel, forcing the Toronto Raptors to move to Tampa for the 2020-2021 season. So, when my boyfriend asked me if I was interested in going to their season opener December 23, I immediately said yes—and bought a red sweater.