As the NBA pursues its hope to begin next season sometime in January with fans in home arenas, commissioner Adam Silver downplayed whether that scenario hinges on the availability of a safe and proven vaccine.  

“Based on everything I’ve read, there’s almost no chance that there will be a vaccine at least that is widely distributed at least before we start the next season. I do not see the development of a vaccine as a prerequisite,” Silver said Wednesday in a press conference before Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. “My sense with rapid testing is we may not have 19,000 people in the building. We’ll see. But that, with appropriate protocols in terms of distancing and with advanced testing, you will be able to bring fans back into the arenas.”

Silver spoke those words at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex where the NBA has resumed its 2019-20 season since late July. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NBA has hosted games without fans while enforcing daily COVID-19 testing, mask wearing before and after games as well as social distancing.