The 2020-21 NBA season will officially kick off on Dec. 22, and LeBron James doesn’t seem too happy about it.
The start date, which was approved by the National Basketball Players Association on Thursday, will officially mean that the NBA offseason will last just 71 days — the shortest offseason both in league history and in the history of the four major men’s professional sports in the United States.
James, who just finished leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a title last month, shared his reaction to the news on Instagram on Friday afternoon.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 6, 2020
NBPA approves plan for 72-game season starting Dec. 22
The NBPA tentatively approved the league’s play for a 72-game season that will start on Dec. 22 and end before the Tokyo Olympics kick off in mid-July.
The plan, per ESPN, will leave just 71 days between the Lakers’ NBA Finals win and opening day. It will leave just 51 days between that and the start of training camp. That’s less than half the traditional offseason, and nearly half of the previous shortest league offseason — which came in at 127 days.
Players had initially criticized the move to start the season before 2021. James’ teammate Danny Green even said he thinks that veterans around the league — James included — wouldn’t even show up if the season started before January.
James even joked in a conversation with Maverick Carter and former President Barack Obama on “The Shop” last week that he’d be “cherry-picking the whole first half of the season.”
A pre-Christmas start, however, reportedly will save the league anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion in revenue. That, and the prospect of returning to a regularly-scheduled 82-game season for 2021-22, both made starting sooner more appealing for the league.
Though James clearly isn’t thrilled about suiting back up so soon, the league is moving forward.
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