The sports shutdown of 2020: One year later
A year ago today, Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert returned a positive COVID-19 test, triggering the sports shutdown of 2020.
The backdrop: During the week prior, the U.S. had surpassed 100 cases (March 2), the world had surpassed 100,000 (March 6) and sports leagues had closed their locker rooms to media members.
- On March 11, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, and by the end of the night the NBA had suspended play indefinitely.
- By March's end every major sporting event — including the Tokyo Olympics — had been either postponed or canceled, and nothing but uncertainty lay ahead.
- April: The NFL and WNBA held virtual drafts, the XFL filed for bankruptcy, and Professional Bull Riding beat everyone to the punch with a 140-person bubble event.
- May: Starved for sports, this was the month the faucet really turned back on. UFC and NASCAR resumed, "The Last Dance" entertained, and a charity golf event provided a welcome reprieve.
- June: Athletes spoke out following George Floyd's death, NASCAR drivers stood in solidarity with Bubba Wallace, the PGA Tour returned in Texas and the NWSL Challenge Cup kicked off in Utah.
- July: The NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB all began or resumed their seasons, as we transitioned from the "No Sports Era" to the "No Fans Era."
- August: The NHL returned with a Canadian "double-bubble," while Big Ten parents protested the postponement of fall sports. On Aug. 26, sports came to a halt, marking a monumental day in American history.
- September: The NFL kicked off its season, the Stanley Cup champion Lightning kicked off Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg's epic run of success, and Naomi Osaka won her second U.S. Open.
- October: The West Coast completed the October sweep, with the Lakers winning the NBA title, the Dodgers winning the World Series and the Storm winning the WNBA title.
- November: Sports venues became polling centers, Dustin Johnson won a Masters unlike any other, and college hoops tipped off.
- December: The NBA returned, and the Ravens and Steelers played on a Wednesday — the seventh and final day of the week to feature an NFL game in 2020.
- January: Nick Saban and Alabama won another national title, the NHL returned, and the NCAA announced plans for an Indiana bubble.
- February: Tom Brady won another battle with time, Tiger Woods crashed his car, and the Australian Open provided a glimpse of normalcy.
- Axios Re:Cap interviews NBA commissioner Adam Silver on his decision to suspend the season
- One year later, Rudy Gobert is at peace and thriving (NYT)
- Sports changes that should outlast the pandemic (WashPost)Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images