Basketball returns with virtual fans, social justice

Virtual fans sat courtside and the Black Lives Matter movement took center court during the league’s first games since the pandemic started.
3:00 | 07/31/20

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Transcript for Basketball returns with virtual fans, social justice
Well now to the NBA's long awaited restart, the competition was fierce with two games down to the wire but in the bubble it was a night of basketball like we've never seen before with virtual fans sitting courtside and the black lives matter movement taking center court. T.J. Holmes is here now with more and, T.J., it is a whole new game. Reporter: It is a whole new game but remember, March 11th we were watching basketball together, weren't we, robach. Sure. The last game was March 11th. It only took us 140 days, 21 hours and 30 minutes to get the restart going and, yes, it looks a whole lot different, the basketball we saw last night and we're supposed to get sports back to give us an escape for what's going on in the world but when you watched that game last night, pandemic and protests were front and center. Every player, every coach, even the referees, taking a knee during the national anthem. A concerted show of unity as the NBA returned with two games overnight and with a message and a spotlight not just on its superstars but social justice and racial equality. We can still play basketball, but at the end of the day, social justice has to be had. Reporter: The first game between the New Orleans pelicans and Utah jazz tipped off with players showcasing messages instead of their names on the back of their Jerseys. Peace, freedom, say her name. This first official game inside the so-called NBA bubble comes 4 1/2 months after the league suspended the season after a player tested positive for the coronavirus. That player, Utah jazz center Rudy Gobert. He just happened to score the first points of the restart and knocked down the game-winning free throws too. We won at the end the day. We understand what's going on in society and using this platform as the players and coaches and organizations to continue to stand strong on that. Reporter: The NBA bubble seeing success so far at the Disney wide world of sports living on campus, social distancing and consistent testing has led to zero reported cases of covid-19 in the latest round of testing. NBA is back under way. If the season goes and they're able to go through then the NBA finals would go until, guys, October 13th. That's normally the time the new season would start. We'll deal with that problem later. On the MLB front we know what's going on with the marlins, they had an outbreak but the philly as announced they have had two members of their organization test positive, not players, test positive for covid so they have shut down all operations right now at their stadium, there in Philadelphia. So NBA has good things to report, MLB seems to be going the wrong direction and the difference, yes, NBA is in a bubble, MLB is not. The bubble model might be it. That might be the answer. All right, T.J., thank you. ESPN's coverage of the NBA's return kicks off tonight with a doubleheader. It starts at 6:30 eastern. Check your local listings. T.J., so excited. He is behind the cameras pumped up.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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