SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA and its players association on Friday morning officially announced it will return to play on July 30 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
While details of Friday’s announcement have long been reported, the official declaration is significant, as there were numerous things the two sides had to work through since they agreed on a return-to-play format earlier this month.
“We have worked together with the Players Association to establish a restart plan that prioritizes health and safety, preserves competitive fairness and provides a platform to address social justice issues,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We are grateful to our longtime collaborator Disney for its role in playing host and making this return to play possible, and we also thank the public health officials and infectious disease specialists who helped guide the creation of comprehensive medical protocols and protections.”
As has long been reported, 22 teams will go to Florida, and each team will play eight games before the playoffs begin. The schedule for those eight games will be released Friday night.
“It is very exciting to officially announce the restart of the 2019-2020 season,” NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in a statement. “It has taken true collaboration between the league and the union — special kudos to our executive committee and several other team reps — along with the continued support and assistance from medical experts, public health officials and many others.
“Additionally, our platform in Orlando presents a unique opportunity to extend the ongoing fight against systemic racism and police brutality in this country. We will continue to work with our players and the league to develop specific plans in Orlando as well as long-term initiatives to bring about real change on these issues.”
For the first time, a representative from Disney spoke on the record about the NBA’s restart in a statement Friday.
“We’re glad to be able to provide a unique venue where the NBA can resume its season at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “We look forward to welcoming the players, coaches and staff to Walt Disney World Resort as they prepare for the exciting return of professional basketball.”
This story will be updated.