Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love was one of the first players in the league who was able to return to his team’s facility last week amid the COVID-19 pandemic, something he described as both strange and uplifting.
The NBA allowed teams to reopen practice facilities on Friday, though only two did at that time. Others have been slowly opening in the days since.
There were still plenty of restrictions involved. Love said he was asked several questions upon arrival and had his temperature taken, and only parts of the facility were actually open. Every player had his own individual basket to work out on and had just one assistant coach to help — who was made to wear gloves and a mask.
That part, the 31-year-old said, was really tough to get over.
“Our facility has been really odd because we have to do one guy to a basket and we have four main baskets at our facility, and everybody is in masks and gloves,” Love told Yahoo Sports on Thursday. “It’s really odd to have a rebounder in a mask, in these latex gloves, throwing passes and throwing you a ball. You almost have to put that out of your mind and act like it’s not even there.
“The players are the only people not shooting with the gloves on.”
Love — who is in his sixth season with the Cavaliers and 12th in the league — hasn’t played since March 10, just one day before the NBA suspended operations due to the coronavirus. It still has no firm plans to resume play anytime soon, though is weighing several options to complete the season in some form. There were more than 1.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 85,000 deaths attributed to it.
Whatever that ends up looking like — be that in a singular “bubble” location, games without fans, a modified postseason or more — Love knows how unusual it’s going to feel from a player perspective.
He isn’t, though, in favor of just scrapping the rest of the season and moving on.
“I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like getting back and playing with no fans or fans kind of scattered out through the arena. It's going to be really, really odd to see how sports slowly start to roll themselves out, but I think it’s needed,” Love told Yahoo Sports. “It’s just such a way to — even for us, too — get out of our own heads and just go and compete. Sport has a commonality to it that, it just plays itself out and has a unique brand of storytelling that’s unraveling right before your eyes.
“I’m fingers crossed for the season to resume.”
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