Charles Barkley says the NBA is going to finish its 2019-20 season.
“We’re gonna make a decision in the next week,” Barkley said on The Paul Finebaum Show Monday. “I’m 100 percent sure we’re going to play. I know my friends in Major League Baseball are going to play. I think that the hockey league is going to play.”
The NBA has been shut down since March 11, when the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The rest of the sports world soon followed in postponing seasons or canceling events. And like virtually every professional and amateur sport, pro basketball has been trying to figure out when and how it can safely return to play.
Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, news broke that the NBA had begun discussions with The Walt Disney Company about resuming its suspended season in late July. Games would be played at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
What format the season would follow is still up for discussion. Will the remainder of the regular season be played or will the season go straight to the playoffs?
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) May 25, 2020
In his interview with Finebaum, Barkley shared what gave him full confidence that there would be NBA basketball this summer. His bosses at Turner Sports said it was going to happen.
“I do know this, talking to my bosses at Turner: We’re going to play basketball,” said Barkley. “It’s either going to be in Florida and Vegas, or just Florida. And they say two to three months. So normally, I get two or three months’ vacation during the summer. That is gonna be gone.”
Charles Barkley says his bosses at Turner tell him the NBA will play this summer ???? pic.twitter.com/dQh43QrNXF
— The Podcass (@thepodcass) May 26, 2020
Earlier in the segment, Barkley also discussed his involvement in TNT’s The Match: Champions for Charity (which drew strong ratings) as an analyst.
“It was kinda crazy because they kept testing us all week,” said Barkley. “We took a bunch of tests leading into it; you weren’t allowed on the property without taking a COVID test. And even when you got to the course, they took our temperature. So we knew then it was pretty serious and they were being really careful.”
The TNT Inside the NBA analyst also expressed his concerns about playing amid COVID-19 concerns, the impossibility of proper social distancing during a basketball game, and various factors that must be considered such as players testing positive and outside employees being involved in everyday circumstances.