Members of the Los Angeles Lakers and other teams participating in the NBA restart are surely counting down the days until they can finally reunite with their families in the Orlando bubble.
Player guests will be able to enter the World Disney World campus for the conference semifinals, with Aug. 31 being the earliest they could join the players. The arrival of family and friends of NBA players is a huge challenge for league officials.
The Orlando bubble has so far proven to be a success and allowed the NBA to resume the season halted back in March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Numerous testing rounds conducted over the last couple of weeks resulted in no positive coronavirus cases on the campus.
And the NBA has to ensure the bubble will not be compromised by the arriving team guests. In order to do so, they will have to quarantine before and after checking in at Walt Disney World.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, player guests additionally will need to be either family members or have “an established pre-existing, personal and known relationship” with a player. But the good news players will now be able to invite up to four adult guests for the second round of playoffs:
The NBA and NBPA negotiated the broader inclusion of family and friends after the first round of the playoffs, essentially agreeing to replace the population of exiting team traveling parties with as many as four guests per player, plus additional exceptions for children. Families and guests will be required to quarantine for seven days off-site from the ESPN Wide World of Sports or three days in the team’s market before taking a franchise charter flight to Orlando and then four more days on the Disney campus, the memo said.
Players are allowed one ticket per guest per playoff game, with an additional seat available to a child 32 inches or shorter, according to the memo. In trying to control infection in the bubble environment, family members won’t be able to move outside the campus zone and go to Disney’s theme parks.
Lakers star LeBron James will surely welcome the news after repeatedly revealing how much he has missed his family in Orlando. He previously said the bubble experiment is a challenge so huge only those who really “love” basketball could sign up for the NBA restart.
Lakers not in ‘playoff mode’ yet
Even though James has shown a much better form over the last two seeding games, he claims neither him nor the Lakers are set in the playoff mindset yet. But the 17-year veteran said he expects to be mentally ready in time for the first postseason round.
“I feel like my legs have gotten better and better, my game has improved more and more, I’m getting more and more comfortable with the bubble,” James said. “But as far as the mental side of it, I’m not there and our team isn’t. But we will be.
“It’s a different type of mindset you have to be in, but you don’t want to jump into before you actually get there because it takes a lot of energy and effort.”
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