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The NBA is the National Basketball Association. It is based in the US and it is the most popular basketball league in the world. The NBA had to suspend their season in March because of Covid-19. They cancelled all of the games after one NBA player tested positive for Covid-19. This meant that they could not complete the season as regularly scheduled. The season was almost over and should have been completed in June. The NBA has now made a plan to start playing games again on July 30.

The NBA has made many changes to how their games will be played. All of their games will be played at Disneyworld in Florida so that teams do not have to travel. Only the teams who had a chance of winning the season will be allowed to play. The players and staff of the competing teams will not be allowed to leave their quarantine zones for the rest of the season. The new changes also mean that games will not have an audience. Instead, there will be a virtual audience. Fans will be shown in the stadiums via their webcams on giant screens around the court. Around 300 fans will be able to be seen watching the game and players will be able to see and hear them. The fans will all be on the same Microsoft Teams call so they can watch the games together. People watching on TV will be able to see the fans who are watching together.

Many sports have struggled with how to continue playing during the coronavirus pandemic. Some sports cancelled their seasons completely but many have tried to continue later. The Premier League in the UK finished their season after a long delay and have played without fans. Baseball teams in South Korea put pictures of fans in their stadiums. In Japan, one team used dancing robots to replace fans. Although things are different, many people are happy they can watch sports again.

Difficult Words

Based (v): To be from somewhere.

Suspend (v): To stop something from continuing for a short time.

Zone (n): An area.

Virtual (adj): To be done through a computer.

Via (preposition): Traveling through or by something.

Delay (n/v): A time when something is late, not on-time.

Activities

For listening practice, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: 

Match the Synonym!

 1. Based  A. Stop
 2. Suspend  B. Through a computer.
 3. Zone  C. Late
 4. Virtual  D. Located
 5. Delay  E. Area

True or False?

1. The NBA is the National Baseball Association.  T / F

2.  The NBA had already competed their season when they stopped playing. T / F

3. No NBA players ever tested positive for COVID-19. T / F

4. The new NBA games will take place in Florida.  T / F

5. All players and staff involved need to stay in the quarantine zone. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. their / NBA / in / The / suspend / had / March / season / to

2. plan / now / made / playing / a / has / The NBA / to start

3. be / a / virtual / there / Instead, / will / audience

4. be / Fans / will / the / stadiums / shown / in

5. completely / their / Some / cancelled / sports / seasons

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: 

Popular Allowed Complete
Stadiums Together Struggled

The NBA is the National Basketball Association. It is based in the US and it is the most (1)_____________ basketball league in the world. The NBA had to suspend their season in March because of Covid-19. They cancelled all of the games after one NBA player tested positive for Covid-19. This meant that they could not (2)_____________ the season as regularly scheduled. The season was almost over and should have been completed in June. The NBA has now made a plan to start playing games again on July 30.

The NBA has made many changes to how their games will be played. All of their games will be played at Disneyworld in Florida so that teams do not have to travel. Only the teams who had a chance of winning the season will be (3)___________ to play. The players and staff of the competing teams will not be allowed to leave their quarantine zones for the rest of the season. The new changes also mean that games will not have an audience. Instead, there will be a virtual audience. Fans will be shown in the stadiums via their webcams on giant screens around the court. Around 300 fans will be able to be seen watching the game and players will be able to see and hear them. The fans will all be on the same Microsoft Teams call so they can watch the games (4)____________. People watching on TV will be able to see the fans who are watching together.

Many sports have (5)____________ with how to continue playing during the coronavirus pandemic. Some sports cancelled their seasons completely but many have tried to continue later. The Premier League in the UK finished their season after a long delay and have played without fans. Baseball teams in South Korea put pictures of fans in their (6)____________. In Japan, one team used dancing robots to replace fans. Although things are different, many people are happy they can watch sports again.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. What do you know about the NBA?
5. Is basketball popular in your country?
6. What is the most-watched sport in your country?
7. What has happened to sports events in your country during Covid-19?
8. Do you like watching sports?
9. Have any major sports games been cancelled in your country?
10. What do you think about the NBA’s plans for virtual fans?
11. Do you think fans are necessary for live games?
12. Have you ever been to a professional sports game?
13. Do you agree with the NBA finishing their season during the pandemic?
14. Do you think it is possible to safely allow people to attend sports games these days?
15. Would you go to a public event like a sports game or concert now?
16. What do you think about the Olympics being cancelled?
17. Do you think the Olympics will still happen in 2021?
18. Is it important for sports to start again?
19. Have you been disappointed by any televised events being cancelled because of Covid-19?
20. Have any famous athletes tested positive for Covid-19 in your country?