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1 Apr, 2020 10:19

'Ask the government': Former Celtics star claims NBA season could resume at classified US Air Force site Area 51

'Ask the government': Former Celtics star claims NBA season could resume at classified US Air Force site Area 51

Having held the 2019 Summer League at the University of Nevada, NBA chiefs could find a novel solution to ending the season at a less conventional base in the state – with Area 51 suggested by former champion Paul Pierce.

Area 51, the US Air Force (USAF) base which is notorious among conspiracy theorists and UFO enthusiasts, could become the home of the NBA as a makeshift setting for the conclusion of the season, former All-Star Paul Pierce has suggested.

Responding to a proposal by former rival Jay Williams that the remainder of the campaign could be played on cruise ships, Boston Celtics icon Pierce named the Nevada site, acquired by the USAF in 1955 to test and develop aircraft, as a potential venue.

Government officials had never publicly acknowledged the existence of the facility, which has been at the center of rumours surrounding an alien spacecraft that crashed in 1947, before former president Barack Obama mentioned Area 51 in 2013.

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Pierce, who was nicknamed "The Truth" by NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, told ESPN's "The Jump": "Maybe ask the government if we can use Area 51 – who knows?

"There are other alternatives instead of the ocean. I mean, what coast are we playing off of? Is it tornado, hurricane season? Is the court outdoor, indoor? So many questions got to be asked."

NBA organizers have been desperate to salvage the season since the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of fixtures on March 11.

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A single-site finale comprising a regular season of up to seven games, followed by playoffs to decide the final standings, is reportedly under consideration.

Officially known as Homey Airport or Groom Lake, Area 51 has long been linked to extraterrestrial activity by theorists, and was once the theme of an episode of supernatural series The X-Files.

The 2019 NBA Summer League took place at the University of Nevada, although Pierce also provided alternative suggestions to the state.

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"Just take it to Vegas," he declared, offering an unequivocal solution alongside his leftfield idea of using the birthplace of the famous U-2 spy plane and home of around 1,500 military personnel. "Take it to one of the hotels. I think that would be great."

Analyst Pierce enjoyed a dazzling 19-year career as a player, winning the NBA with Celtics, where he spent 15 years, in 2008.