By Andres Acuna
Spring time in the valley is supposed to be riddled with professional athletes showcasing their athletic abilities, beginning with the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the second half(s) of the NBA and NHL seasons, and MLB Spring Training, Phoenix is one of the largest professional sports cities in the nation between the months of February through June.
The national pandemic of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has halted the play of the NBA, NHL, and MLB. There is one spring professional sports team left standing through the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, and that is the Phoenix Mercury.
Although the WNBA is not in season yet, the WNBA Draft is scheduled for April 17th, which is less than one month away. The draft has been changed to a virtual draft that will be broadcasted on ESPN2. The WNBA Draft will also feature a tribute to the late Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and the other victims of the horrific helicopter accident in late January.
A statement regarding COVID-19 was released by the WNBA on March 12th, informing fans that the league s monitoring the virus carefully and that the league will comply with both the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization moving forward.
WNBA Statement Regarding COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/Lj5d8TVaqU
— WNBA (@WNBA) March 12, 2020
Although there are 251 cases reported in Maricopa County and 54,453 cases reported across the United States, the WNBA seems persistent in pursuing to conduct business as usual. For now, the season is still scheduled for a season-opening tip-off on May 15. The league also has some flexibility because it was planned to be on hold for the Olympics this summer, but since the summer games are now postponed until 2021, leaving a few weeks open in the league schedule.
The Phoenix Mercury are scheduled (for now) to tip-off in a season-opener against the Seattle Storm on Sunday, May 17th in Phoenix.