‘I have to play for my sanity’: how the NBA reacted when it came to a halt

A new HBO documentary explores the ripple effects when Covid-19 shut down the NBA just as racial justice came to the fore in the United States

Chris Paul dribbles on. The 11-time All-Star point guard – or, “Point God,” as he is known – is midway through his 16th NBA season and his first with the Phoenix Suns, his fifth team and third in three years. The Suns are currently flying high in the Western Conference after a decade of disappointment, and have resumed playing at home before modest crowds of 3,000, in deference, of course, to the coronavirus.

It would be incorrect to say that Paul, the focal point of The Day Sports Stood Still, a documentary that premieres on Wednesday on HBO in the US, is slowly returning to “normal,” whatever that is. Paul’s career, and his life as a 35-year-old husband and father, was altered dramatically by the virus, even though he has not caught it himself. He was hardly alone.

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