Mark Cuban responds to Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley calling to cancel NBA season
Mavs owner Mark Cuban has offered a response to comments made by NBA legends Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, who recently noted that the 2019-20 season should be cancelled due to ongoing concerns with the coronavirus pandemic.
At first, Barkley felt that games could be played at a later date. Now, however, he feels it’s still too dangerous to play:
“It’s too dangerous, it’s not safe, I don’t know how they can make it safe,” Barkley told The Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN radio on Monday night, via Newsweek.
“You can’t put hotel workers in a bubble, Barkley added. “You can’t put people who work room service in a bubble. And I’m not sure players want to stay in a hotel for two straight months. You can’t leave the hotel to get something to eat, as you have got to worry about the virus. They should cancel the season.”
While speaking with USA Today, Shaq explained that any champion crowned this season would likely carry an “asterisk” next to their name:
“I think we should scrap the season,” O’Neal told USA Today. “Everybody go home, get healthy, come back next year. Just scrap the season. Just scrap it.
“To try and come back now and do a rush playoffs as a player? Any team that wins this year, there’s an asterisk. They’re not going to get the respect.
“What if a team that’s not really in the mix of things all of a sudden wins with a new playoff format? Nobody is going to respect that. So, scrap it. Worry about the safety of the fans and the people. Come back next year.”
Cuban, who is among those who are still hopeful that the 2019-20 campaign will resume, thinks the players want to play:
“I love those guys, but they’re wrong,” the Mavs owner said of Shaq and Barkley. “Guys want to pay. There’s still a season to be finished out.”
Mark Cuban is with the players. pic.twitter.com/GSyUA2Rmjm
— theScore (@theScore) May 13, 2020
The NBA decided to suspend the regular season back in March due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert became the first confirmed case in mid-March. His teammate, Donovan Mitchell, tested positively shortly after. Since then, several other staffers and players around league have contracted the virus.
At this point, it’s not clear if the season will resume. Some teams, including the Cavs and Trail Blazers, have re-opened their practice facilities. This doesn’t mean that games are coming soon, but it seems to be a step in the right direction, which is a discussion the Mavs owner is obviously involved in.