The new reality we are all living has made the draft process considerably different than in past years. Since face-to-face meetings can’t happen right now, Tillman has been meeting with NBA teams through Zoom meetings. “I’ve had two so far with Utah and Detroit. It’s all about these Zoom interviews and how well you perform in those. Answering the questions honestly is the biggest key for those teams because they know everything about you,” Tillman said. Being born and raised in Michigan, Tillman says the Pistons are a team that is on his list.
November 30, 2020 | 12:16 pm EST Update
Duane Rankin: OFFICIAL: #Suns signed free agents guards E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway and center Damian Jones as well as free agent forward Johnathan Motley, the team announced today. Motley averaged 24 points last season in G League. Has played 46 games with Dallas and L.A. Clippers. pic.twitter.com/zwgITkS3CP
What are your expectations for this shortened 2020-21 season? Stephen Curry: Knowing what the top of the West looks like … with obviously L.A. winning the championship and reloading … you look at the Clippers, you look at Denver, Houston, Portland, Utah, Dallas, Phoenix, Sacramento, there’s so many talented teams that are looking to take that next step. We’ve been there before, so we know what it takes, and we’re going to rely on that for sure. But we’ve got that nice, perfect balance of experience and youth. And when it comes to a playoff matchup, when we’re in there and we’re locked in, we know we’re tough to beat. Come playoff time, whenever that is, we know we’ll be there, we know we’ll be a force to be reckoned with on that front.
GQ: Financially, how dire would the consequences have been if the season had to be canceled? Adam Silver: I mean, I wouldn’t use the word dire, only because I tend to look at our business over a longer-term horizon. Even though we had an opportunity, of course, to restart the season, the financial implications are still pretty traumatic. The players will still take a significant pay cut, and most of our teams will also lose significant amounts of money—not just from their NBA team but [also from their] arenas and all of those nights that have remained dark. Again, I’m trying to take a longer-term perspective and with a recognition that this too shall pass, whether it takes another six months for a vaccine to be widely distributed or it takes another year to get back up and running. Meanwhile, we’re watching what’s happening around the world. For example, we have Game 4 of the Finals taking place on Tuesday night in Orlando. So on Wednesday morning in Shanghai, in fact, there is a viewing party at an arena where they’re going to have 5,000 fans, and they’re comfortable doing that. They have protocols for doing that.
Adam Silver: I only say that because long before there was even a movement called Black Lives Matter, there was the NBA. There was Bill Russell, there was Oscar Robertson and Wayne Embry and Lenny Wilkens and all these great Black leaders within the league. Part of what I’m focusing on is finding our own voice for next season and putting us in a leadership position on these issues, and—maybe I’m naive to say this—putting us in a role to unify people as well. Now, some people might suggest that the words Black Lives Matter are causing massive amounts of people to tune out the NBA. There’s absolutely no data to support that. And in fact, as I said, there’s no doubt there are some people—and whether or not they were truly our fans to begin with is unclear—who have become further engaged with the league because they believe in our players and they believe in the positions they’ve taken, even if they don’t agree with everything they say. They respect their right to speak out on issues that are important to them.
How would you respond to those who struggle to reconcile these established values that the NBA represents and the business relationship that the league has with China? Adam Silver: I think they’re very different. I don’t think it should be a surprise to people that in a league that is 80 percent Black, that issues of social justice are the issues that they choose to speak out on. To me, that’s the essence of what free speech is. Free speech is your decision as to what to speak out on and where to focus your attention. And through the relationships that we have in China—directly with the hundreds of millions of people in China that follow NBA basketball—we are an exporter of American values. And again, I’m not naive. I don’t mean to suggest that therefore their system of government will change because people watch NBA basketball. But I think through those relationships come commonality of interest and ultimately empathy and a better understanding of each other. I don’t know how else to say it, but I think it’s a net positive, because the alternative is disengagement.
Adam Silver: But I guess that people could say, “Well, it’s inconsistent with our values.” And I’d say, “Do you make decisions based on one issue?” I still believe that by engaging with people in China, by exporting what is a piece of Americana through the NBA, that we are supporting our fundamental values and that the alternative of not doing it would not improve things. Now, I think there’s been a misinterpretation around the Daryl Morey tweet, and it confuses me in terms of people’s reactions.* Our response was “No, we support freedom of expression.” That is a bedrock American principle, and that if they choose to not air our games as a result of that tweet, we accept the consequences. Hopefully, the Chinese will see that. And it’s no surprise: We have a different system, and that’s what we believe in. It’s two governments having disagreements.
Where does the relationship between the NBA and the Chinese government stand now? Adam Silver: We don’t have a direct relationship with the government. Our games continue to be distributed on what is a private streaming service there called Tencent. But I think that taking our games [temporarily] off China Central Television has sent a very clear signal to Chinese citizens from the Chinese government that we are being disfavored at this time. And we are continuing to do what we do. And certainly, for Chinese citizens who watch our games, whatever messages are on our floor, whatever messages are on our jerseys, are seen by them. And certainly our players who choose to speak out on the issues important to them, whatever those issues are, will be heard around the world.