The Walt Disney World Bubble continues to live up to its billing as a coronavirus (COVID-19) safe zone for players. The NBA seems to be coasting through and has had enough success that a return to home markets for the 2020-21 season remains somewhat question.
The MLS recently completed their tournament inside the bubble, and while they had some issues during the early days of the competition, positive tests were few and far between.
Meanwhile, MLB has struggled to run through its schedule without a bubble as multiple teams have dealt with outbreaks. In contrast, the NBA and NBPA have announced that there have been zero positive tests since July 13.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix that that league’s setup in Orlando has gone more smoothly than he had anticipated:
“It’s better than what we had envisioned. Players have taken to it in a more spirited way than we thought they would. We knew that this would require enormous sacrifice on everyone’s part, but I think that what is hard to calibrate—and this maybe goes to my experience when I first came into the arena—is the human emotion that comes with being around other people. And I think everyone realized they missed it more than they even understood. There are players either whose teams are not participating, who were unable to engage this summer because of injuries or other issues, who, once they spoke to fellow NBA players, have asked to join the experience down in Orlando.
“I think that it’s the togetherness, the camaraderie, the brotherhood of the players. That’s been the case for the coaches, the team staff, and management as well. To take those masks off and bang into each other, whether it’s someone on your team or an opponent, it’s just a human craving we have for contact with other people.”
While the bubble hasn’t been able to offer quite the same game day experience due to the obvious absence of fans and home-court advantage, the league has done all they could to finish off the NBA season and crown a champion.
Of course, the NBA is now navigating a challenge off the court in the bubble as teams boycotted games Wednesday.
Los Angeles Lakers react to NBA’s guest policy
The NBA clarified its policy on allowing guests into the bubble in Orlando, announcing four slots for each player along with additional exceptions for children. Head coaches will not be able to invite any guests.
“Can’t wait,” said Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said. “Can’t wait. Obviously this is a great experience, they’ve done an unbelievable job of really supervising and managing how the bubble works.
“They’ve done a great job, but at the same time, we’re all human, and we all have our own families and loved ones we want to see and be around. It’s good news.”
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