Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he hopes the NBA resumes playing games in May, saying that the league's restart can help bring people together amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview published Tuesday by Dallas television station WFAA, Cuban cited "people I've talked to at the CDC and other places" for his admittedly optimistic projection.
"No one has perfect information right now, so all decisions are tough, but if I had to guess based off the people I've talked to at the CDC and other places, I would say that the over-under [for a restart] would be June 1, and I'm taking the under," Cuban told WFAA.
"Hopefully by the middle of May we're starting to get back to normal and the NBA is playing games, maybe not with fans [in attendance], but we're playing games."
On Thursday Cuban tweeted that he was "more hopeful" than he was two weeks ago about getting games back with no fans before June 1.
just to clarify, everything i say is always qualified with a statement that it will depend on what doctors and scientists say. That said, Im more hopeful than i was 2 weeks ago about us being able to return and play in front of no fans prior to June 1.— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) March 26, 2020
Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski earlier this month that the NBA was bracing for the possibility of a return in mid-to-late June as a best-case scenario, but Cuban hopes the games resume sooner.
"Sports plays such an important role," Cuban said. "People want something to root for, people want something to rally around. People want something to be excited about, and if the Mavs and the NBA in general can get out there and start playing games in May so that they're on TV, sports is what we need right now."
The NBA suspended the season indefinitely on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. At least 14 members of NBA organizations had tested positive for the virus as of Monday.
The NBA has not formally announced a projected date for return, but Cuban said he expects the league to "lead the way out of this."
"I'm proud of the NBA and the way we've reacted," he said. "We've led the way and hopefully will lead the way out of this. ... I think we're coming together as a community, particularly in north Texas. But I think we need [sports], and I think the NBA is ready to play that role."