NBA commissioner Adam Silver will miss Game 6 of the NBA Finals due to the league's health and safety protocols after previously missing Game 5. The league has not said whether or not Silver himself has tested positive for COVID-19 or if he was a close contact of someone who had. When ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reached out to Silver for comment, he simply replied "lousy timing."
Silver typically attends every game of the NBA Finals. Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Silver would clear the protocols in one day, so he should be able to attend Game 7 if it proves necessary.
Silver has never missed a championship presentation since his tenure as commissioner began in 2014, including in the Orlando bubble in 2020. Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum will present the trophy if the series ends on Thursday, according to Wojnarowski. He handles the NBA Draft lottery and announces second-round picks at the NBA Draft, so he is a familiar face to NBA fans.
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The NBA has largely avoided significant absences during the postseason due to COVID-19. Paul George missed a play-in game, Steve Kerr missed the end of Golden State's series against Memphis, and there was a reported outbreak in Phoenix that included at least one player, but ever since the Omicron wave that swept through the league in the middle of the season, COVID-related absences have been fairly minimal. Silver's absence is a reminder that the league and country are still facing the virus and must continue to take steps to limit its spread.