NBA reportedly installing 'timeout chairs' for games, which only sounds like childhood punishment

Liz Roscher
·2-min read

The NBA will resume its season in just over a week, and it’s continuing to figure out how to hold games while still practicing social distancing. Its latest idea, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, will bring back memories of frustrating childhood discipline. The NBA is apparently installing “timeout chairs” for each team on the court.

It certainly sounds like the NBA has instituted a new kind of timeout without anyone noticing, where players sit by themselves as punishment for doing something bad. Will players be told to sit in the chair for two minutes and think about what they’ve done? Imagining players like Jimmy Butler or LeBron James sprawled out on a chair with their arms crossed and an angry look is, admittedly, pretty hilarious.

The NBA did not actually get their latest COVID-19 innovation from every parent who has ever had to deal with a petulant child (i.e. all parents). It’s an effort to continue social distancing during in-game timeouts — it just happens to share a name with one of childhood’s most annoying punishments.

The league is trying to keep players from congregating around the bench in a tight clump, and the only solution to that is for huddles to be moved to the court so there’s more space. To give players and staff a place to sit, they’ll have “moveable chairs” (also known as just a chair) brought out to the court for the duration of the timeout

How useful will this actually be? It’s unclear. With players getting close during games, it seems a little performative. The more important question is this: Could the NBA have thought of a different name for these chairs? Absolutely. They could have called them “on-court chairs.” Or just “chairs.” Not everything has to have a special name, NBA!

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