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Top Five Stories Of 2020: Basketball


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or the fourth part of the 2020 in review series, Ministry of Sport continues to highlight the top five stories from each major sport in 2020, this time looking at Basketball.


After the NBL crowned the Perth Wildcats as champions following the cancellation of the finals’ series due to COVID-19, NBL commissioner, Jeremy Loeliger, told Ministry of Sport the NBL “would be crippled without fans in attendance”.

Loeliger said looking towards the 2020/21 NBL season, the league “still lacks certainty for the future as COVID-19 still continues to hold live sports and events to very specific restrictions.”


Social justice was a massive talking point around the world through 2020, but the NBA led the way in terms of taking action, introducing the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition.

This group will lead the NBA’s collective efforts to advance equality and social justice, and came after the league established the NBA Foundation, with an initial $300 million contribution to create greater economic empowerment in the Black community in the US.


With the world enduring lockdowns due to the impact of COVID-19 and the shutdown of the sporting world, Netflix released ‘The Last Dance’, the Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls 1997/98 documentary series.

The series was watched by 23.8 million Netflix users outside of the US alone in its first four weeks, while ESPN recorded US linear broadcast averages of 5.6 million viewers across all ten episodes.


The NBA marked its return to action on July 31 in the Orlando bubble within the ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Centre and did so with a 109% increase over Turner Sport’s average domestic viewership for an NBA game.

The NBA return culminated in the Los Angeles Lakers being crowned NBA Finals champions after beating the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals, becoming the #1 merchandise selling champions in history in the process.


None of this would have been possible without the event that arguably sparked the shutdown of the entire world of sport; in March, the NBA suspended its 2019/20 season after Utah Jazz centre, Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

It appeared that 99% of the world’s sporting competitions then immediately followed the lead of the NBA in suspending their competitions with so much uncertainty surrounding the world due to COVID-19.

Months later, the NBA announced its return-to-action with 22 teams joining the Orlando bubble on July 31, with eight seeding games taking place before the league went straight into its playoff format.

To view part three of the Ministry of Sport 2020 in review series looking at the top five stories of 2020 for cricket, click here, otherwise, keep an eye out on the Ministry of Sport website and social media channels for the next release in the series.

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