Because God Won’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle, Michael Jordan Docuseries The Last Dance Will Now Premiere in April

Jay Connor | THE ROOT

Our prayers have been answered.

With the coronavirus condemning us all to our couches indefinitely, the world as we know it will never be the same again. Thankfully, ESPN has stepped up to be the hero we need during these perilous times and announced that its highly anticipated 10-part docuseries, The Last Dance, will debut on April 19 instead of its original June release date.

The Last Dance puts Michael Jordan’s final season with the Bulls under the microscope and according to The Athletic, it will air on ESPN every Sunday night from April 19 to May 17—two episodes at a time.

With professional sports leagues experiencing an unprecedented work stoppage that has turned ESPN’s programming schedule into a nightmare, this isn’t a perfect replacement, but it’s a damn good alternative to watching nothing at all.

“As society navigates this time without live sports, viewers are still looking to the sports world to escape and enjoy a collective experience,” ESPN said in a statement. “We’ve heard the calls from fans asking us to move up the release date for this series, and we’re happy to announce that we’ve been able to accelerate the production schedule to do just that.”

ESPN continued, “This project celebrates one of the greatest players and dynasties ever, and we hope it can serve as a unifying entertainment experience to fill the role that sports often play in our lives, telling a story that will captivate everyone, not just sports fans.”

Considering some of our favorite shows and most-anticipated movies have either been canceled or derailed entirely by this pandemic, who do we have to thank for this timely miracle?

Fans have been clamoring for weeks for ESPN to move up the date, and during a recent appearance on Richard Jefferson’s Road Trippin’ podcast, LeBron James echoed their sentiments.

“If they release that thing right now? The views on it?” James said. “Listen, if I’m Michael Jordan, I’m going in there and I’m making a conference call and I’m like, ‘OK, what’s the reason that we’re going to hold on to it until June now? Compared to now when everybody is at home?’ Because it’s done [being edited]. It’s done. Yeah, it’s done.”

And as for the new release date, it’s safe to assume that it’s been met with universal acclaim.

Much like everyone else, I can’t wait to revisit my disdain for all things Michael Jeffrey Jordan—anyone care to remind him that my team, the Orlando Magic, gave him that work in the ‘95 NBA Playoffs?—and that the 19th can’t come soon enough.

Check out the extended trailer for The Last Dance below…

MICHAEL JORDAN and JOHN COLTRANE • AMEN

One of the site owner/admistrator’s (at least top 3) most favorite YouTube videos of all-time… it has been awhile since I posted it, but just seemed appropriate right now… I pray all of you keep healthy and safe during this extremely difficult time for humanity… blessings…

(From the youtube liner notes):

” ‘Amen’, from the album Sun Ship…

Revisiting old Jordan clips around the same time as this Trane, I suddenly felt a deep connection there and was curious to see how footage would by chance combine, align and double up in spirit and time with the music. Seeing the moves, invention and control of Jordan alongside the feel, pacing and power of this particular track (one of the last by this quartet, recorded August 26, 1965)… Heroes unstoppable at the top of their game, leading their teams. The message of that zone, rhythm, strength and ORIGINALITY. Athletes of the heart! We indulge…

Amen.

–Ben Gerstein

Takeaways from the informative Steph Curry and Dr. Anthony Fauci coronavirus Q&A

Watch full discussion above ☝️

What we learned from informative Steph Curry-Dr. Fauci coronavirus Q&A

Logan Murdock | NBC SPORTS

Warriors guard Steph Curry usually relays messages from the comfort of a controlled press conference.

Curry did so from his couch Thursday morning, interviewing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, on Instagram Live to shed light on the pandemic-causing COVID-19.

The idea of the 30-minute interview was cultivated last week, according to a league source, following Fauci’s appearance on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast. David Schwab  — executive vice president of sports management company Octagon, which represents Curry– called on athletes to use their platforms to interview figures like Fauci.

Following Schwab’s tweet, Curry’s representatives reached out to Schwab, who acted as an intermediary between Curry’s team and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The idea was to target young people who aren’t getting their news from cable news channels.

Fauci discussed a number of topics during the interview, including testing and social distancing. The United States has over 80,000 confirmed cases as of Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The NBA suspended its season earlier this month after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.

Many initially thought the coronavirus carried similar symptoms and risks as the flu, Fauci said Thursday the coronavirus has shown to be  “10 times” worse than influenza.

“It’s similar in that it’s a respiratory illness that’s transmitted by the respiratory route,” Fauci said. “It gives a degree of pathology that it’s very, very much more transmissible than flu and more importantly, it’s significantly more serious.”

The number of coronavirus cases nationwide is disputed due to limited access to testing equipment. On Thursday’s chat, Fauci said that more tests are expected to be available with the help of private labs.  

“That’s been a real issue early on,” Fauci said. “Several weeks ago we were not in a place we wanted to be or needed to be.”

“Right now there are literally hundreds of thousands of tests out there,” he added. “Mostly because we got the private sector involved.”

The coronavirus can cause respiratory problems, including cough, fever, shortness of breath and, more severely, pneumonia. While elders and people with weak immune systems typically are more susceptible, Fauci said younger patients should beware of the virus as well.

“Very heavily weighted towards the elderly and those underlying conditions,” he said. “ … Those are the people who have a higher degree of mortality,” he said. “But what we are starting to see is people who are younger … who don’t have any underlying conditions, who are getting seriously ill. It’s still a very small minority, but it doesn’t mean that young people like yourself should say, ‘I’m completely exempt from any risks of getting seriously ill.’ “

States have begun implementing social distancing measures in recent weeks to encourage citizens to stay at home in order to limit the coronavirus’ spread. California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered residents to stay in their homes and closed non-essential businesses last week in an effort to “flatten the curve” of the virus’ impact on hospitals and public-health systems.

Fauci expressed optimism about beating the coronavirus if citizens continue to practice social distancing.

“If we really push, we hope we will know by the time we get to next winter whether or not we have something that works,” Fauci said. “Vaccines are going to be important for next time around, not for what we’re dealing with now.”

Barack Obama comments in Steph Curry’s coronavirus Q&A with Dr. Fauci

Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS

On Thursday morning, Warriors superstar Steph Curry hosted a coronavirus Q&A via Instagram with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Did Barack Obama — the 44th president of the United States — participate in the session?

You bet he did.

One of Obama’s comments: “Listen to the science. Do your part and take care of each other. Thank you, Steph and Dr. Fauci.”

Former Warriors forward Andre Iguodala made sure to check in on the event as well.

Great stuff all the way around.

Dr. Fauci tells Steph Curry how sports could return amid coronavirus

Dalton Johnson | NBC SPORTS

Amid the NBA coming to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic, Steph Curry continues to have his most meaningful assists off the court.

He did so again Thursday when he held a Q&A on Instagram Live with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of the White House’s coronavirus taskforce. Thousands upon thousands of people tuned into the talk, including former President Barack Obama.

Curry himself asked Fauci what kind of numbers the doctor is looking at, and what needs to be done in order for sports can return to play. 

“What you need is to see the trajectory of the curve start to come down,” Fauci explained. “We’ve seen that in China. They went up and down and are starting to get back to some normal life. They have to be careful they don’t re-introduce the virus back into China. But they’re on the other side of the curve. Korea is starting to do that, they’re starting to come down. Europe, particularly Italy, are in a terrible situation. They’re still going way up.

“The United States is a big country. We have so many different regions — like New York City right now is having a terrible time, and yet there are places in the country that are really doing quite well. … So a direct answer to your question, we can start think about getting back to some degree of normality when the country as a whole has turned that corner and starts coming down.

“Then you can pinpoint cases much more easily than getting overwhelmed by cases, which is what’s going on in New York City.” 

Dr. Fauci did not give a timeline or date of when he believes the NBA or any other sport can continue play. 

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, March 11. Commissioner Adam Silver immediately suspended the season. Nine other players, including Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, have tested positive since then. The league has every intention of resuming play at some point, though, no date has been set. 

Curry has been vocal in this time of need, preaching the practice of social distancing. He and Warriors coach Steve Kerr have used their platforms to reach as many people as possible in order to make sure we’re all responsible and looking out for each other. 

As of this publishing, there have been 68,827 known cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 1,009 deaths, according to NBC News.

Karl-Anthony Towns Reveals His Mother Is In a Coma As a Result of the Coronavirus: ‘This Disease Is Real’

Jay Connor | THE ROOT

It’s been exactly two weeks since NBA All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, sending the entire league into a tailspin and suspending operations indefinitely. In the time since, players have poured themselves into video games, social media, and other distractions, while others have tried their best to circumvent the pandemic or have been forced to face it head-on.

Among those directly affected by this crisis is Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, who took to his YouTube channel on Tuesday night to reveal that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, has been placed in a medically-induced coma as a result of the virus.

“I was told early last week my parents weren’t feeling well,” he said in the video. “My first reaction to [my mom] was to go seek medical attention immediately. […] And after a couple of days of not showing any signs of improvement, I was very adamant on the first day to go to a hospital and seek further evaluation.”

He added, “She kept getting worse, she kept getting worse, and the hospital was doing everything they can.”

He noted that she was unable to break her fever from 103 degrees, and her condition continued to deteriorate until she recently appeared to be on the mend.

“She was feeling great,” Towns said. “We talked, and she felt she turned the corner. […] I knew there was more days to come, but I felt that we were heading in the right direction. They said that she went sideways, and things had went sideways, quick. And her lungs were extremely getting worse, and she was having trouble breathing and they were just explaining to me that she had to be put on a ventilator. And she was getting worse, and she was confused by everything, and I’m trying to talk to her about everything and encourage and stay positive, just talk through everything with her.”

He continued, “She’s been in a medically induced coma. Since that day, I haven’t talked to her, haven’t been able to obviously communicate with her,” Towns said. “I’ve just been getting updates on her condition. It’s rough, and day by day we’re just seeing how it goes. We’re being positive; I’m being very positive.”

Since making his shocking admission, friends, fans, and players alike have offered words of encouragement to the 24-year-old.

Earlier this month, Towns donated $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic to help increase the number of tests that it could administer daily from 200 to 1,000. And in light of his mother’s diagnosis, the two-time NBA All-Star remains committed to ensuring that everyone understands the severity of this ongoing pandemic.

“This disease needs to not be taken lightly. Please protect your families, your loved ones, your friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. Please don’t be in places with a lot of people. […] It’s deadly. And we’re going to keep fighting on my side, me and my family, we’re going to keep fighting this. We’re going to beat it. We’re going to win.”

You can watch the video in its entirety below.

Adam Silver responds, NBPA’s Michele Roberts defends players, critical of government on virus testing

Ramona Shelburne | ESPN

National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said she was “disappointed” in the criticism NBA teams and players have gotten for receiving access to COVID-19 tests and sounded off on who she believes is responsible for the scarcity of public tests in America: the federal government.

“There’s nothing irresponsible — if you’ve got that information [that you’ve been exposed] — about trying to get the tests,” Roberts told ESPN on Wednesday.

“The problem that more of us can’t get the tests — and I’m not apologetic about saying it — in my view, that rests at the foot of the federal government. They were responsible for making sure we were protected in that regard, and I think they failed.

“We shouldn’t be fighting about this now … but once this is done and we get through it, and we will, let’s figure out who screwed up and fix that.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on Wednesday that eight teams had been tested since Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, and the league suspended its season last Wednesday.

The Brooklyn Nets disclosed Tuesday that four of their players had tested positive for the virus. The Nets had not recently played the Jazz or Detroit Pistons (who have since confirmed a player tested positive) so it was not immediately clear why the Nets had all been tested.

The Nets said in a statement Wednesday that several players and staff were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, prompting the team’s traveling party to get tested for the coronavirus. The Nets said they “sourced the tests through a private company and paid for them ourselves because we did not want to impact access to [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]’s public resources.”

De Blasio blasted the team on Twitter and suggested NBA players were being given preferential treatment because they were rich and had access to better health care than the general population, where there has been frustration over testing protocols and availability.

“We wish them a speedy recovery,” de Blasio said in his tweet. “But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested. Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

Roberts said she understood the criticism but reiterated her criticism of how the government has handled the crisis.

“I get it,” Roberts said. “People should not be having to wait in line. The at-risk population should be the first to be tested. But god damn it, if the government had done what they were supposed to do, we wouldn’t be competing for an opportunity to be tested.”

Roberts said that public health officials have expressed concern about infected NBA players exposing others to the virus because of the high number of players they come in contact with and how much they travel.

“We were doing games where tens of thousands of people were coming into our arenas. We were exposing potentially a lot of people to being infected,” Roberts said. “I get it. If you’re 65 years old — I’m 64 — and you’re symptomatic and want to get tested, it must be difficult to hear about some young’uns getting tested. I get that. And the players get that. But to the extent that there was some effort to find out just how pervasive our infection was so that people would know.

“To be perfectly candid with you, if I was at the arena in OKC when the announcement was made, when the game was canceled, I would be concerned.

“In many ways, I think it would have been irresponsible for the teams not to test their players and staffers because people in that arena have the right to know if they’d been exposed.”

Roberts said she has advised her players to report any symptoms of the virus to team officials if they come up. She is actively discouraging any stigma from being attached to players who might test positive.

“I’m distressed if any player is distressed about having his name out there,” she said. “There is no stigma attached to testing positive for coronavirus. I’m probably positive for coronavirus if I’m tested. Most of us will. I’m now hearing 50% of the population is probably going to be infected. We need to stop being concerned about there being some stigma about being infected — ‘Oh my God, he’s got the ‘rona.’

“That’s nonsense to worry about that. We need to worry about how we can contain it. My message to the players is, ‘Don’t for one second be embarrassed about it. There’s nothing embarrassing about it. This is not something that suggests you’ve done anything wrong. If you have it, now you know you need to be more careful in terms of your interactions.'”

KD among four Nets to test positive for COVID-19

Kevin Durant reportedly tests positive for coronavirus: ‘We’re going to get through this’

Cassandra Negley | Yahoo Sports

Kevin Durant tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19, he told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

“Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine,” he said, per Charania. “We’re going to get through this.”

The Brooklyn Nets superstar and two-time NBA Finals MVP has not played this season after suffering an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals while with the Golden State Warriors. Charania tweeted that Durant did not exhibit symptoms.

Nets announce 4 players tested positive

The Nets announced Tuesday that four players had tested positive for the virus, though they did not identify any by name. Three of the four Nets players who tested positive are asymptomatic, the team said. They are each in isolation and under the care of physicians.

The players were tested when the team returned home from San Francisco, where they were scheduled to play the Warriors when the NBA suspended play. The team reportedly paid out of pocket to conduct tests.

The team is reaching out to those who have been in contact with the players. Brooklyn faced the Boston CelticsMemphis GrizzliesSan Antonio SpursChicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers in March. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told Anthony Slater of The Athletic he’s not sure if his players had contact with Durant or any Nets players the night before the game.

More NBA players test positive for coronavirus

The NBA season was suspended within an hour of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive for the coronavirus. He was the league’s “Patient Zero.” Teammate Donovan Mitchell also tested positive after the entire team and staff were tested that night.

Gobert has since urged people to take the issue seriously. A Detroit Pistons player has also tested positive.

NBA Managed To Get 58 Coronavirus Tests Despite Massive Shortage

Testing kits for the virus have been dangerously scarce, but that didn’t seem to stop NBA players from quickly getting screened

Sebastian Murdock | HUFFPOST

As COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, sweeps across the U.S., testing kits needed to identify the illness have been in dismally short supply. But the NBA seemed to have no problem this week getting 58 testing kits in one day.

On Wednesday, the NBA announced it was suspending its season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The discovery set off a chain of events leading to the dramatic cancellation of a game just before tipoff and a wave of other sports institutions announcing their own season suspensions.

On Thursday, 58 people in Oklahoma ― a group of Utah Jazz players, coaching staff and local journalists ― were tested for the virus. Only one other person, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, was found to have the virus. The Daily Beast was the first to ask how the NBA was able to get its hands on so many tests amid a widespread shortage:

A powerful, wealthy pro sports league flexed the political capital and financial might required to get government officials to spring into action. The unintentional byproduct, though, is another, equally jarring number: 7,617 people in total have been tested for the virus by state labs as of Thursday, and those 58 tests, or a staggering .8 percent, were conducted on employees of one professional basketball team.

Oklahoma Health Commissioner Gary Cox said Thursday that the state currently has the “capacity to run about 100 tests a day.” That means those associated with the NBA got roughly 60 percent of the state’s daily testing, The Daily Beast noted.

There are currently two known active cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma, but that number is expected to go up. Representatives for the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma Department of Health did not immediately respond to questions from HuffPost.

As the situation becomes more alarming, many planned events, concerts and sports seasons have been postponed, rescheduled or canceled to help slow the spread of the virus.

Rudy Gobert tries to make amends for being ‘careless’ about coronavirus with big donation

Rudy Gobert donates $500,000 to arena workers and coronavirus-related services in Utah, Oklahoma and France

Chris Cwik | Yahoo Sports

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert is trying to make things right after being “careless.” Gobert — who became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus — announced a $500,000 donation Saturday. A portion of that donation will go toward making sure part-time arena workers at Vivint Smart Home Arena are compensated while the NBA season is suspended.

Gobert will give $200,000 to Jazz arena workers who will miss out on working games at Vivint Smart Home Arena, where the Jazz play. He will give $100,000 to families in Utah and Oklahoma affected by the virus. Gobert is also donating 100,000 Euros to assist families in France. Gobert is from France.

Rudy Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive with coronavirus

Gobert was effectively patient zero among professional sports leagues in the United States. After joking about the virus, Gobert fell ill prior to the Jazz’s Wednesday game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. That game was postponed after Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. The NBA reacted to Gobert’s positive test quickly, postponing the season indefinitely.

Rudy Gobert apologized for being ‘careless,’ is trying to make things right

Realizing his mistake, Gobert apologized a few days after news broke he had tested positive. He said he was “careless,” and encouraged people to use him as an example of why the coronavirus should be taken seriously. Saturday’s donation is more of the same for Gobert, who is now using his platform in a positive manner after initially dismissing the virus.

Other NBA stars have joined Rudy Gobert with donations

Gobert is the latest NBA player to donate money to part-time NBA arena workers. Giannis AntetokounmpoBlake Griffin and Zion Williamson are among the NBA players to donate money to those affected by the NBA suspending play. A few team owners, including Mark Cuban, have also agreed to pay team staff for time missed.

Warriors pledge $1M to Chase Center employees affected by coronavirus; Steph Curry’s foundation to help feed out-of-school students

Ali Thanawalla | NBC SPORTS

Joe Lacob and the Warriors aren’t forgetting about the people that make games at Chase Center flow like a well-oiled machine.

The organization announced Friday night that it will contribute $1 million to a disaster relief fund to help pay all part-time and hourly employees while the NBA is suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“The last few days have been extremely challenging for all Bay Area citizens as we deal with the hourly changes in this unprecedented situation,” Lacob said in a statement released by the team. “Our players, coaches, ownership and management have been focused on creating a way to assist our part-time employees. We are addressing the potential hardships these hard-working individuals may encounter during this hiatus in the NBA season. While everyone and every business is impacted, those who are fortunate enough to be in a position to help, need to help.”

“The men and women who work our games at Chase Center are critical in providing an incredible game-night experience for our fans, including of course, the popcorn vendors,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said in the statement released by the team. “As players, we wanted to do something, along with our ownership and coaches, to help ease the pain during this time.”

Lacob had indicated earlier in the day that the Warriors would take care of the people hit hardest by the stoppage, and the owner made good on his word.

Chase Center employs more than 1,000 hourly workers, so no games or concerts at the arena means no paychecks. But the Warriors are making sure those vital people don’t have to worry during the pause in the NBA season.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that the suspension could last at least 30 days.

Several NBA teams have pledged to take care of their arena employees. Even a few marquee players — Kevin Love, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson and Blake Griffin — each donated $100,000 to help support workers in their respective arenas.

In such an uncertain time, it’s good to see organizations looking out for the people that are so important to their operations.

Coronavirus: Steph Curry’s foundation to help feed out-of-school students

Brian Witt | NBC SPORTS

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted sports figures and everyday people alike.

Steph Curry and the Warriors were sent home after the NBA season was indefinitely suspended Wednesday. On Friday, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) joined many others in doing the same with its students.

There are over 18,000 students within the OUSD that rely on their school for at least two meals per day. With school no longer in session, there is a huge void to fill. Curry and his wife, Ayesha, announced Friday night that they are attempting to help do so.

The Currys, through their foundation, Eat.Learn.Play., are donating to the Alameda Food Bank to help serve the displaced students, and they’re inviting you to join them in the cause.

“We’re trying to do our part,” Steph said. “Hopefully you can join the fight with us and have each other’s backs as we go through this uncertain time in our community.”

Those interested in donating to the cause can do so at:

https://donate.accfb.org/supporting-families