Seeing deserted arenas slowly fill up to their maximum capacity is a wonderful feeling- especially for sports lovers who have been following professional basketball. The energy is unparalleled. Because of the pandemic, the previous season’s payoffs had fans cheering on their favourite teams from their living rooms. But this year, the fans are back in person to witness the NBA playoffs.
For those unaware, playoffs are sets of matches that commence after several games are played back and forth in the regular season, following which six teams qualify, each from Eastern and Western conferences respectively. These two conferences consist of eight teams each.
With vaccinations in progress, the NBA has reopened arenas to live audiences. Fans surely might have covered their faces with masks, but the passion and the energy they exude remain intact. More importantly, these venues are also offering walk-in vaccinations on-site for fans- creating a safer environment for the fans, players and staff.
Celebrities and fans from across the United States have started coming in to be a part of these nail-biting games between the best basketball teams in the league. Sports journalists and basketball commentators such as the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, a former basketball player himself, called this an "unpredictable season." The top contenders for the season and defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated in the early stages of the playoffs. The Brooklyn Nets, who were looking to clinch a championship after almost 44 years with a star-studded team that included Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving & Blake Griffin, were sent home by the Milwaukee Bucks'
The Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns now face each other in the finals. With a 1-0 lead over the Bucks, the Suns are looking forward to winning their first-ever title in the history of the NBA. But, it is too early in the series to predict the outcome. After all, this is basketball. Keeping in mind the surprises the league has thrown our way, nobody can be sure of anything.
The fans are back. The excitement is back. The unpredictability is an absolute thrill.