Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the NBA has needed to made complete overhauls in the way they run their league in order to continue playing games. Beyond just the Walt Disney World bubble, players and personnel must adhere to a strict set of safety protocols all approved by public health officials.
And while many of the rules and regulations refer to times when players are not participating in games, the gameday operations for the 22 bubble teams is still vastly different than it would be in a normal situation.
Beyond just things like media availability, the entire concept of locker rooms has been changed. One of he rules involved players being required to prepare for the games — getting dressed in uniform and warmups — while still in their hotel room.
The NBA is now reversing that requirement citing weather and the campus’ unique environment, according to Nick DePaula of ESPN:
As NBA players arrive at games during resumed play in Orlando, they will now have the freedom to wear clothing from their own wardrobe while walking from the team bus to the game venue’s locker rooms, according to a league spokesperson.
Initially, a protocol finalized last week required players to fully dress for games in their hotel rooms, and “be in uniform and warmups when they arrive” to the game venue, as reported by ESPN on Sunday and confirmed by the league Monday. “Considering the unique environment on the NBA Disney campus and warmer weather conditions, a different policy was put in place for players’ arrival and entry into the arenas,” a league spokesperson told ESPN on Monday.
And while players will be allowed to wear anything within reason on the way to the game, non-active players will be required to have pants on when sitting on the bench:
Players can now wear a variety of “relaxed” items from their own wardrobes upon arrival that are “clean and neat in appearance,” including presentable shorts. However, players not in uniform at games must be wearing pants while seated on the bench.
While there are still some wardrobe regulations, the rule appears to be far less stringent than the previous one. This will allow some of the pre-game fashion shows that have become very commonplace in the NBA.
Part of the draw for players in this league is the freedom that they are given. Although safety was in mind when limiting that freedom, it’s good to know the NBA believes that not all of their rules are perfect.
Moving forward, both players and the league will need to maintain this type of flexibility in order for the bubble to be successful.
Cardiac screening required for positive COVID cases
One of the major changes that was announced shortly after teams entered the bubble was the new requirement for cardiac screenings for players who had previously tested positive for COVID-19.
New health data showed a possible correlation between the virus and long term heart issues, even for asymptomatic cases. While nothing is completely confirmed yet, the suspicion is enough for the NBA to make it a requirement.
This means that any player who tests positive at any point will have to do this exam before returning to practice or play.
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