BOSTON (CBS) — Jaylen Brown says most NBA players want to return to the court soon, but they won’t do so if it puts themselves — or the public — in danger.
The Celtics guard, who is also a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, was on the recent players-only conference call to get an idea how players feel about returning to action amid the league’s shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic. Brown joined CNN on Wednesday to discuss the call, and said the bulk of players are eager to get back to work. The call was put together by NBPA president Chris Paul, and included players Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook.
“A lot of the guys want to play. The most influential players that were on that call that we speak of, a lot of those guys want to continue the season and that’s very important to us,” said Brown.
The NBA suspended play on March 11 with 18 games remaining in the regular season. The league would be in the middle of the playoffs right now, and Brown said players are very hungry to have a postseason. He said it’s “understood” that the league would jump right into the postseason when it resumes, but he didn’t want to jump the gun with that proclamation.
“The playoffs is what’s important. I think that’s the big moneymaker for everybody,” said Brown.
But Brown added that safety is the most important factor in all of this, and not just for NBA players. Brown said things are moving in the right direction, but no one wants to return too early and give the country a false sense of security.
“We just want to make sure that we understand that the NBA represents, and is the estimate for, a lot of society,” Brown said. “We don’t want to come back too early and make people feel like things are OK and things are not, and they’re potentially dangerous.
“All of us want to play. I think everything leads to the players wanting to proceed to play. We just want to make sure that it’s safe,” he added. “And as the NBA and as a brand, we want to make sure that we’re on par with the science and the research that’s being done.”
Brown said that the numbers of tests available and the speed of getting results needs to pick up before the league returns. He added that if a player tests positive again after play resumes, there would likely be a quarantine period and play could potentially stop again.