The NBA’s Replacement Players Are Enjoying the Ride. They Don’t Want It to End.

Published by
Sports Illustrated

By Rohan Nadkarni,Michael Pina Called into action because of the coronavirus pandemic, some of the league’s newest faces—and a few familiar names—are proving they belong. Two seasons after the bubble and one season after playing games in empty arenas, the NBA was supposed to return to a sense of normalcy in 2021–22. Instead, LeBron James took the floor on Christmas Day with Darren Collison and Stanley Johnson, while 40-year-old Joe Johnson drilled a pull-up jumper in his first game with the Celtics since 2002. The reason? In December, with the highly transmissible omicron variant making its wa…

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