To encourage fans to vote and to promote nonpartisan civic involvement, the NBA announced on Tuesday that it would not host any games on November 8.
The league declared that during the next months, its teams would offer details on voting methods and registration dates for their respective states.
On Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, the NBA will unveil its complete regular-season schedule.
Scheduling of the event
The scheduling decision was made because the NBA family is committed to promoting nonpartisan civic engagement and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, the league said on Tuesday.
Elections for all 435 U.S. House seats, more than 30 U.S. Senate seats, and gubernatorial races will all take place on November 8.
It’s peculiar. James Cadogan, the executive director of the NBA’s social justice alliance, said to NBC, which broke the news of the league’s altered schedule for Election Day, “We don’t generally change the calendar for an external event.” However, voting and election day are unquestionably unique and important to our democracy.
The NCAA men’s basketball championship game is commonly played on the first Monday in April, therefore the conference typically avoids scheduling games on that day as well as on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. It also has a few days off scheduled around the February All-Star Game.
The NBA and its players aggressively backed several political causes in 2020, especially in response to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, which reignited the struggle against racial injustice and police brutality.
Many athletes took part in voter registration drives, including LeBron James.
Several sportsmen, including LeBron James, took part in voter registration drives and other election-related efforts. Some teams turned their locations into locations where voters could register and cast ballots.
On the Monday before the midterm elections, all 30 teams will compete. Each home club will host an election-themed fan night in addition to forbidding games on Election Day.
“It will really be the pinnacle of the entire beginning of the season,” says Cadogan, “where we will be communicating about the significance of civic participation, the importance of registering, and the importance of getting out and voting.”
The timetable change is a significant departure from tradition. On election day in 2018, eight teams competed. On the night of the 2014 midterm elections, 16 teams competed, while 12 teams did the same in 2016. After Election Day, COVID put off the commencement of the 2020 campaign.