A year like no other in a league like no other has just started as the NBA officially launched its 75th season with style.
Last Tuesday night saw this year’s favourites Brooklyn Nets facing the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks for the first game of the 2021-2022 campaign. The battle took place in Milwaukee right after the Bucks players, staff and coaches received their championship rings materializing their official status of « 2021 World champions » with the victory 127-104, the cherry on top of this beautiful evening for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team. It mainly marked the start of this eight-month race to the 2022 title that will feature those two teams, plus the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns as main contenders. To keep that good and competitive rhythm, this opening week has already seen some great players battling each other, such as LeBron James and Stephen Curry or Luka Doncic and Trae Young.
Celebrating 75 years of history
Above all, this « landmark season will be commemorated as ’NBA 75’» with many festivities, tributes and events to honour the seven decades and a half history of the league. NBA.com explains that NBA 75 will be :
« a culmination of transcendent players, extraordinary moments and remarkable teams. An homage to exceptional talents and unforgettable flashes in time » [that] « will pay tribute to generations of basketball fans around the world, as well as current and former players and coaches. »
As a preview of all the « celebration that lasts throughout the 2021-2022 campaign », the association has already diffused a three minutes short film called NBA Lane in which more than thirty current and former players are reunited. The league has also revealed its « 75th Anniversary Team » composed of the seventy-five greatest NBA players and pioneers ever, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson among others. This list was made by a « panel of media and current and former players, coaches, general managers and team executives » and has already caused some controversies due to some players being selected over others who have legitimate reasons to believe they did deserve a spot.
New season, new recipe
Even if this season will be unique in many regards, things are back to normal in some others. In fact, after playing ten fewer games than usual last year due to a shortened schedule after a year riddled with COVID, the NBA is back with its usual and classic 82 games. However, this campaign will once again be put under the spectrum of coronavirus as a huge protocol will be put in place to protect all the NBA actors, from the players to the referees and fans. The NBA doesn’t force its players (whom not a single one is English by the way) to get vaccinated, yet, some laws in San Fransisco and New York do so, which has already caused some drama and problems for some players who refuse to get vaccinated and thus can’t play for the moment. Moreover, whereas Londoners always had the chance to watch an NBA game at the O2 Arena every single year from 2013 until 2019, the virus still prevents the event to happen this year due to sanitary reasons.
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