Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady appeared on Monday’s edition of ESPN’s The Jump, where he offered his opinion on the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season in July and said he would vote against returning to the court if he was still an active player in the league.
As seen in this YouTube clip, The Jump host Rachel Nichols discussed the mixed reactions of various NBA players to the restart of the ongoing season. These included comments from Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams and Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, who both expressed reluctance to return, and Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers, who remarked that resuming play could allow players to get paid again, thus allowing them to contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement and other causes.
When asked about the issue, McGrady told Nichols that he would “vote not to play” if given the choice.
“It’s an accumulation of me wanting radical change with everything that’s going on in the country. But let’s not forget, there are still people dying from this coronavirus, so we can’t forget about that along with everything else, that’s going on.”
While McGrady added that he understands where both sides are coming from, former NBA center Kendrick Perkins disagreed, saying that he agrees with the league’s side on the matter and stressing that players need to be unified when it comes to the issue at hand and accept the fact that there is a plan to resume operations after what would be a four-month hiatus next month.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 13, 2020
Although Nichols stressed that, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, there’s no indication that the NBA’s return is “in jeopardy,” Bleacher Report pointed out the various rumors suggesting that there’s a growing contingent of players who are hesitant about suiting up when the league resumes play in Orlando, Florida. Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, in particular, has been mentioned as one individual who is especially concerned about playing in a “bubble” environment next month.
As McGrady’s opinion is apparently shared by several other players who also see the coronavirus and the ongoing protests over racial inequality and police brutality as reasons to sit out, the NBA reportedly has a contingency plan in mind. Citing internal sources, Wojnarowski reported on ESPN last week that the league will allow “substitution” players to replace those who decide against flying to Orlando for the season restart. Anyone who gets replaced, however, will be declared ineligible for the rest of the 2019-20 campaign.