The NBA and NBPA announced that out of the 343 players screened in the Walt Disney World bubble, zero players tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) since the last round of results were announced July 29.
There was initially plenty of concern regarding the league’s plans to pursue a restart in a hotbed like Orlando, Florida, during the ongoing pandemic. Even commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged the drastic impact that a few positive tests could mean for the entire operation.
Fortunately, the NBA’s hopes of becoming a virus-free zone has gone according to plan up to this point. Although there have been a few instances of players breaking protocol before the seeding games, it has not led to any significant repercussions outside of a delayed return to their respective teams.
The league also opted to ease the consequences of inconclusive tests, which have started to occur in approximately five of every 1,000 tests. Players can now have the chance to produce two negative tests within 60 minutes of tipoff rather than waiting 48 hours to become eligible.
Despite having to deal with the restrictions placed in response to the coronavirus pandemic during the most crucial point of the season, the NBA has fared better than other major professional sports leagues that have attempted to make its return.
The NFL is still in the midst of putting their health guidelines to the test with the start of training camp. Meanwhile, the MLB’s lackluster efforts in containing any outbreaks have led to speculation about the uncertain fate of their season.
Just because the bubble has managed to accomplish all that it was designed to do, does not mean that it has been smooth sailing for the players and staff involved. LeBron James recently admitted that the time away from family certainly takes its toll.
“Obviously, being away from your family is an unbelievable sacrifice we’re all making, and it’s very difficult. We have road games, when we go to the West Coast or East Coast, you have 11-day road trips of five or six games,” James said.
“And sometimes when you play in the Olympics, you can be away from your family because you’re traveling from country to country. But nothing has ever compared to this. It’s a huge sacrifice we’re all making. I miss the hell out of my family, my wife, my kids, my mother and so on. It’s a huge challenge to be able to stay locked in.”
LeBron’s singular focus
Although players can take solace in the fact that the bubble experiment has worked out, being away from family has offered up its own set of challenges for those trying to stay focused on the task at hand.
As a result, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has been adamant about hi guys maintaining a healthy balance of basketball and off-field activities to avoid any potential burnout in the season restart.
James has been a man on a mission throughout the course of the pandemic with his efforts in maintaining the Lakers’ status as bonafide title contenders while raising awareness to the social injustice taking place off the court.
Perhaps the most difficult part is the fact that he is now limited to virtual interactions with his family. Despite the challenges involved, James admits it does allow him to narrow his focus on getting the job done on the court.
“Once you get on the floor, the game is the game. It’s an opportunity to lock in on the situation at hand, the task at hand, and you keep the main thing the main thing,” James said.
“Because at the end of the day when you get on the floor, you have a job to do. Me personally, I have a job to do to continue to take this team in the right direction. So I’m able to lock in on that, and at the same time keep my family and loved ones in my heart and mind as well.”
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