Miami Heat: Could the return of the NBA season be a negative distraction?

Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat talks with Jimmy Butler #22 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat talks with Jimmy Butler #22 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

With the Miami Heat season ready to reboot, the NBA may be embarking on learning how to deal with a crisis that will last way beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. But, are they ready?

Four months ago, no one would have imagined a world without sports or Miami Heat basketball. However, some blessings shine brightest through the dreariest of times.

By no means was the coronavirus pandemic a positive. The ripple effect caused by the lockdown brought on a serious change though.

Due to the lack of sports, all eyes were forced to focus on things actually going on in the world. As a result, officer Derek Chauvin’s unwarranted murder of George Floyd was magnified. And the impact hit different.

Think of a fully padded linebacker knocking an NBA star out of the air type of difference. That was how hard the Floyd video rocked hearts that were unable to turn to the distraction of sports.

Without the luxury of their safe space, people had no choice but to pay attention. A fact that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra does not see dissipating anytime soon:

"“I don’t think anybody is really ready to move on, and we shouldn’t. If anything, I’ve talked to a lot of head coaches and a lot of players that in many times before, so tragically there would be a similar incident of social injustice like this and then two weeks later people forget about it. This will be an opportunity for the entire association to land in one spot and a motivated association of players and staff and personnel to keep this conversation going and use our platform to make sure that this doesn’t go away.”"

Miami Heat and NBA basketball are set to return at the end of July. Is the return a negative distraction from the social awakening occurring right now?

Statements like Spoelstra’s are a swat to the face of the shut up and dribble crowd. So is the sight of everyone, from role players to stars, being on the frontline of protests that seem to have made slight headway with laws being passed, repeals being made, and individuals temporarily being held accountable.

For those reasons, some players are naturally hesitant about the restart of the season being a distraction.

According to ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, some reluctant players have been discussing a myriad of issues including family concerns, coronavirus risks, and social justice. A fact also echoed by All the Smoke co-host and former NBA player Matt Barnes.

Some fear that proceeding with the season, at this juncture, would pull attention away from the social awareness they have been able to help create. Seeing as though NBA basketball would wittingly, or unwittingly, occupy the time of free minds.

After all, there is only so much awareness that can be raised from locked within the Walt Disney World Resort bubble.

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No one truly knows what the right move will be, but the world should heed Spoelstra’s advice of not moving on from the social injustice fight and relying on their consciousness to steer them when athletes are not available to.