Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The NBA's ambitious plan to resume the season at Walt Disney World hit an impasse over the weekend, with the two crises that have shaken the U.S. — the pandemic and the protests — causing division amongst the ranks.

The state of play: Last week, the NBA's board of governors approved the league's return-to-play plan, followed by the NBA players' association one day later — but a number of players have begun asking themselves: do we actually want to participate in this?

  • A closer look at the NBPA statement shows that the vote was merely an approval of further negotiations and that "various details" still needed to be worked out, notes The Ringer's Paolo Uggetti.

What they're saying: Players have expressed multiple concerns, ranging from visitor policies to Disney staff protocols to Florida's record levels of new COVID-19 cases. But the main issue for some is that a return to play would distract from the nationwide protests over police brutality and systemic racism.

  • Kyrie Irving hosted a Zoom meeting on Friday with over 80 players to discuss the matter. "I'm willing to give up everything I have [for social reform]," he reportedly said on the call.
  • "Once we start playing basketball again, the news will turn from systemic racism to 'who did what' in the game last night," one anonymous player told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The other side: While some believe playing basketball would detract from the Black Lives Matter movement, others — including LeBron James — believe it would provide them with a megaphone to promote their message.

  • "[LeBron] wants to keep making his mark off the court. He wants to play basketball. And as has always been the case, he clearly believes he can do both at the same time," writes The Athletic's Sam Amick, citing sources close to James (subscription).
  • "We can do both. We can play and we can help change the way black lives are lived," Rockets guard Austin Rivers wrote on Instagram. "But canceling or boycotting [a] return doesn't do that in my opinion."

The bottom line: Would playing basketball take attention away from the more important issues at hand in this country? Or would it provide some of the world's most popular athletes with a platform to inspire change? The fate of the 2020-21 NBA season may depend on the answer to that question.

Go deeper: The NBA's 22-team restart plan

Go deeper

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 11,143,945 — Total deaths: 527,681 — Total recoveries — 6,004,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 2,818,588 — Total deaths: 129,584 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.
3 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. has reached new highs in single-day coronavirus infections for three consecutive days this week, per data from Johns Hopkins and the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.

Trump extends coronavirus PPP loan application deadline to August 8

President Trump boards Air Force One on July 3. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump signed off on Saturday to give businesses another five weeks to apply for funds through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Why it matters: Roughly $130 billion in PPP funding is still available. The Small Business Administration's inspector general found in May that some rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have gotten loans due to a lack of prioritization from the agency.