They say optimists live longer than pessimists, and, right now, especially under these strange virus-era conditions, that’s what we all want to do — live longer.

We want Mom to live longer, and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, brother and sister, wife and husband, daughters and sons. Everybody, live longer.

Pessimism, though, has its place.

When it comes to the NBA season edging forward to a restart in the name of normalcy, for the good of a nation’s psyche, let’s not just pump the brakes on that idea, let’s stomp on them hard.

This isn’t a call for negativity. It’s a cry for what’s real.

What’s really important.

Let’s get real, then. Let’s prepare mentally, physically, psychologically for a season with no proper finish, a season with no finish at all. End the thing now, and dial in on what matters most — channeling every bit of focus and energy we can conjure to follow the directives to socially distance ourselves, support those on the frontlines of the effort, stay home and help each other out any which way we safely can, and to extend and save lives.

You’ve read the possible options to continue the NBA’s games in the months ahead. Commissioner Adam Silver has mentioned some of those — everything from starting up again in May or June and playing through the summer in practice facilities in front of no fans, television cameras beaming the action into homes to rigging up tournaments to putting together pickup games stocked with select players.

No.

Just bag the thing.

Wipe it down with Lysol and let it be.

Leave it behind and begin preparations for a brighter future, one where COVID-19 is better understood and contained. Basketball shouldn’t be played when a nation is at war with a contagious disease raging, one that is infecting and afflicting millions of people, killing far too many of them.

This is different than World War II, when the president suggested that baseball and other pro games should continue being played, all while men and women were battling foreign powers in foreign lands. Had that combat been going on here in the homeland, those games would not have been played.

The fight now is here, all around us. And it can call anyone a casualty.

The idea of rooting for a sports team, screaming our guts out for a favored player or result, inside of that difficult environment, even if it has diminished a bit, is not only bad form, it’s just plain bad.

It’s unimaginable, it’s unconscionable.

Those who are holding out hope for better times in the near future in the face of the information that’s emerging almost every day are whistling in the dark. Dreaming is good. Delusion is not.

Let’s recognize the coronavirus for what it is — a threat to everyone, acknowledging its force, taking appropriate precautions, digging our heels in against it, getting it defeated or at least controlled before prematurely planning to go about our sports business, altered and contrived.

Those alterations have sprung up around other sports, too, such as baseball, including talk suggesting that the season be moved back to the point where the World Series would be played in a warm-weather location on and around Christmas. College football is seeking possible alternatives. September’s sports calendar is getting all kinds of jammed up.

Projections seem to indicate that COVID-19 is going to be around long enough to push back our lives for the foreseeable future. It has pushed us, pushed us hard, pushed sports hard, and we’ve stumbled back. But whatever strategy is necessary for a long-term win in this fight is far more important than winning the day, this day, this week, this month, or the season, this season, by wangling some bastardized version of basketball.

Retreat for a time, acquiesce, test the entire country, if we must, research 24/7, find answers, and then bounce back strong. It’s a concession, but a smart one.

Give it a rest.

Prepare for next season, with time to gather for it, to draft new talent, sign free agents, have proper training camps, get ready to play again — in 2020-21.

Be hopeful about that. Do it right.

And move forward when the time is right.

GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.