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One of the last Super Basketball League games before all games were moved to a smaller training center. Photo: Gene Wang/Getty Images

Taiwan's Super Basketball League is believed to be the world's only professional basketball league that is currently operational — a feat made possible by a swift response to coronavirus (six deaths in a country of 24 million people).

Why it matters: Despite being much smaller than the NBA (five teams compared to 30), the SBL's game-night protocols and empty arenas provide a glimpse of what NBA games might look like if conditions allow for its return this season.

The state of play: The SBL has relocated all of its games to the HaoYu Basketball Training Center and essentially built a bubble around it, ensuring that the building never has more than 100 occupants.

  • The only people allowed inside are teams, referees, scorer's table officials, camera operators, TV broadcasters and journalists. Many wear masks.
  • When they arrive at the door, players are "greeted by league officials who check their temperature with a forehead thermometer and record the information next to each player's name," writes NYT's Marc Stein.
  • "It is assumed that a confirmed coronavirus case in the league would lead to an immediate suspension of SBL play, but no COVID-19 testing is done on site. Any player with a temperature above 99.5°F is refused entry."

What they're saying: Former Duke guard Matt Jones scored 29 points on Thursday night to lead Bank of Taiwan to an 85-77 win over Taoyuan Pauian Archiland, led by former G League All-Star Charles Garcia.

"It feels like an adult league. ... The only noise is from your teammates. I don't even drink Red Bull, but I'm drinking Red Bull now before a game to find energy. When I get a dunk, you want to scream, but you can't. It's pointless. So I just run back on defense."
— Charles Garcia, via NYT

The big picture: While the NBA will certainly be keeping tabs on the SBL, it will be paying much closer attention to the 20-team Chinese Basketball Association, which provides a more comparable case study as it looks to resume play.

  • The CBA's season was set to resume two weeks ago after a three-month stoppage, but that has been delayed until late April or early May.
  • "It's starting to be normal over here in China," tweeted former NBA guard Pooh Jeter, who said he and his Fujian Sturgeons teammates have begun practicing five-on-five.

Go deeper: eSports surge as professional sports get canceled

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.