After taking a COVID holiday, the NBA is back, and it's going to be weird. 22 of the association's 30 teams will gather in Disney World in Orlando, Florida, to play the most eerily silent games of professional basketball ever. As the NBA strives to return to normalcy so we can all have the fun distraction of sports again, they're going to face a harsh undeniable truth: there's no way in hell they're going to hold reality at bay.
Every second of every game broadcast will be dripping with reminders of how biblically bonkers the world is outside of their Disney bubble. Every game is going to be without a crowd and will be almost entirely silent aside from play-by-play announcers trying to be heard over sneaker squeaks and players shouting an unconvincing "AND-ONE!" at refs. There will likely be some kind of pro-Black Lives Matter demonstration because, unlike the NFL, the NBA won't silence their players on this issue to placate the belligerently racially ignorant segment of their fan base.
It's impossible to completely expunge the madness of 2020 from whatever's been made in it. There's a little plague, police brutality, and tragic Musk baby names in every quarantine sourdough loaf you make. As a fan who got blue balls when the NBA regular season was just rounding the corner into the playoffs, I'm ecstatic for its return even if it looks like basketball was sucked into a parallel dimension and returned a mutated beast. It'll be such a welcome change of pace to be furious at my favorite team getting bounced in the first round of a post-apocalyptic basketball tournament, that might as well have the fate of the world hanging in the balance, in addition to all the other nightmares residing beyond the safety of the Magic Kingdom. So glad to have you back, NBA! It's just too bad you're going to be a mangled funhouse mirror reflection of our collective failures as a species!
Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Catch him on the "In Broad Daylight" podcast with Cracked alums Adam Tod Brown and Ian Fortey! Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com and his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. Listen to the first episode on Youtube!
Top Image: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons