No one would have criticized Ryan Broekhoff for opting to take this summer off.
The Australian shooting guard’s last played in an NBA game on Feb. 8 as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. The 29-year-old’s wife has an auto-immune disease, which makes her high risk for COVID-19 complications.
So it would have been totally understandable if Broekhoff remained away from the sport for the rest of the summer and make sure he, his wife and their one-year-old son remain safe amid the pandemic.
He will tell you it hasn’t been an easy decision to come back.
“It’s taken a lot for us to be able to get to this point where we signed,” Broekhoff said of the substitution contract he signed with the Sixers last weekend.
“We spoke to [general manager] Elton [Brand] and spoke to coach [Brett Brown] and just wanted to get some more information of how the bubble would be down in Orlando, and if anything happens at home, what are my options to get back and take care of my family.”
The 22 teams participating in the NBA restart will live in a “bubble-type” atmosphere at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Sixers will arrive July 9 and remain in the bubble until their season concludes. If they reach the NBA Finals, the team would stay in Orlando for three months.
“I think the opportunity in the end was too hard to pass up,” said Broekhoff, who spent five seasons playing in Europe before signing a two-year deal with the Mavs on Aug. 6, 2018.
He couldn’t pass up the chance to work with Brown, who in November started his second stint as the Australian national team coach. Broekhoff and Sixers point guard Ben Simmons are expected to play for the Boomers in the 2021 Olympics.
But there’s another incentive for playing this summer.