For the entirety of the 2020-21 NBA season, Tripp and four other people — Eboni Edmondson, Keyur Patel, Crystal Brown and Ebony Jackson (all with some experience in the medical field) — were hired by BioReference, the company that partnered with the NBA in order to maintain safe and healthy practices amid what would likely a turbulent season, to be COVID testers for the Pistons. These testers were who the players reported to first thing in the morning. They were the last faces the players saw before returning to their families or hotel rooms. Days were random. Days were long. They were at the mercy of the NBA, its schedule, and strict protocols. Testing twice a day. Before practice. After practice. Before a game. After a game. At home. On the road. If the Pistons’ plane landed back in Detroit at 2 a.m. from a road trip, sometimes that meant these workers would get three hours of sleep before they were back at the practice facility by 7 a.m.
Shams Charania: NBA referee Tony Brown will not officiate for the remainder of the season and playoffs after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Brown has officiated 1,109 regular season games and 35 playoff games in 19 seasons as an official.
Roy Parry: Steve Clifford, who will coach the Magic tonight against the Celtics after being cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols Monday: “I feel great. From what I’ve been told, because I’ve been vaccinated, I really had no discomfort. I didn’t have any symptoms at all…”
Josh Robbins: Chasson Randle, on having Steve Clifford back at shootaround this morning: “It was great. Just the energy that he brings to our team, the leadership that he brings — it’s just great to hear his voice back with us and in-person. He’s welcome to be back, for sure. We missed him.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Magic coach Steve Clifford will return to the bench on Wednesday vs. the Celtics, sources tell ESPN. Clifford has cleared the league’s health and safety protocols. Orlando traveled to play Detroit tonight.
Florida Gators forward Keyontae Johnson, who was hospitalized after collapsing during a game in December, on Wednesday said he will not enter the 2021 NBA draft and is waiting for medical clearance to return to the team for next season. “I am progressing & steadily making progress daily in my health,” Johnson said in a post on Twitter. “I am patiently waiting on medical clearance.