NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants to avoid a situation where a desire to protect the health of older coaches does not also result in age discrimination.
Silver said on TNT Thursday that there was consideration to not allowing older coaches to be on the bench during the resumed season in Orlando this year. Part of the thinking comes from data showing older people are more at risk of death from the coronavirus than younger people.
Adam Silver says it is possible that "certain coaches" may not be able to be the bench coach when play resumes at Disney "in order to protect them."
Gregg Popovich is 71. Mike D'Antoni is 69. Alvin Gentry is 65.
The CDC says people 65 and older are at higher risk.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 5, 2020
Shortly thereafter, Silver was reconsidering his stance.
NBA Coaches Association President Rick Carlisle, who is the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that he spoke with Silver, who says he “jumped the gun” with the statement.
“I just spoke to Adam Silver and he admitted that he jumped the gun with his statement to TNT,” Carlisle told Woj. “The health and safety of our coaches is first and foremost. It’s entirely possible that an NBA coach in his 60s or 70s could be healthier than someone in their 30s or 40s. The conversation should never be solely about a person’s age. Adam assured me that we would work through this together to help determine what is both safe and fair for all of our coaches.”
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is 71; Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni is 69; New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry is 65. They are the coaches who would be considered to be in the at-risk group based on age.