One idea for the 2019-20 NBA season to start up again after its coronavirus-forced hiatus last month is to isolate the players from the normally seated fans in arenas, with some even suggesting relocating franchises to play out the remaining schedule in neutral locations away from COVID-19. However, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has trouble imagining such a future for the NBA.
“It’s hard to envision,” the Celtics wing said in a conference call with reporters on Friday, per John Karalis of Masslive.com.
“I’ve thought about it a little bit, and whatever scenario they come up with will probably be something none of us players have dealt with before. Whether it’s with everyone in Vegas or another location, maybe playing with no fans. Playing with no fans would be pretty wild – almost like a scrimmage at training camp.”
Hayward also noted the difficulty of having no fans watching the game in the arena, citing that players will have to bring their own energy,
Gordon Hayward on playing NBA games with no fans: "You have to bring your own energy."
— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) April 10, 2020
The 30-year-old one-time All-Star Hayward, in his third season with the Celtics, had his first impactful campaign with Boston cut short when the coronavirus pandemic reached the NBA.
While fans do not know when the season will resume — and if they will go straight to the playoffs or play the remaining regular-season schedule — one idea floated around is playing without fans.
Fans packed in arena seats have been a backbone of the NBA for generations, engaging with the game played in front of them. For Gordon Hayward, what comes next, should the season not be canceled, will be a whole new journey for players and teams.