The NBA has returned and the rules of the “bubble” are clearly in full force and working. The teams have been residing in three hotels at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida. All games are being played in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. However, with teams being completely sheltered from the society we wonder what is actually happening in the bubble, what players are getting up to, and if they are in fact sticking to the rules! Players have been expressing their concerns and even threatening to leave but why?
First things first the most important rule is that players and staff have to remain in the bubble. There are a few exceptions that can be made but permission has to be granted and it is mainly only for medical reasons that one may leave. Naturally, people are not allowed into the bubble either. This is until later on in the playoffs at which time families will be allowed to join and reunite inside the bubble.
Players will be tested for COVID-19 daily, they will also be being observed for an presence of symptoms. The intent is to create complete control and observe the entire environment, the NBA of course, wants their players and staff to be safe but also to prevent any possibility of spread if one player contracts the virus. Staff will also be tested but the frequency of such was not revealed.
The players have plenty to do and plenty at the tip of their fingertips in the bubble. There are multiple pools, golf courses, fishing spots, lounges, video game stations, movie screenings, and DJ sets- in case any of them wanted to take up a career in Djing after their NBA time. The players are surely having a good time with one another and the competition must be rife. When they are not busy competing in card or video games players can also enjoy on-site manicurists and hairdressers. However, the rules are still very much strict…
The rules are super strict as they are expected to social distance and wear masks at all times. They are also not allowed in one another’s hotel rooms. Sanitization precautions are in place and in very extreme manners. For example, after playing cards, the set will be thrown away and simply replaced. Players are also forbidden from eating whilst doing any activities, although, we doubt they mind this rule since the food looks terrible.
Who Is In And Who Is Out?
There are 22 teams that are currently in the bubble. The 16 playoff teams and 6 teams that are still eligible for playoffs. Each team can have up to 37 people which needs to include coaches, trainers, and any other staff necessary whether it be for medical purposes or equipment needs. Disney staff is also present they will be going in and out as they naturally are performing housekeeping and sanitizing duties.
Serious Or Not So Serious?
Players may leave the bubble for pre-approved reasons such as the birth of a child, a family emergency, a wedding, or for medical treatment that may be needed. However, there is no one stopping them, and no one holding them back. If a player had to leave the bubble they may face quarantine time, invasive nasal swab tests, but that is about it. Players have recently been told that one family member or loved one will be able to attend games.
Bye Bye Bench
The usual NBA bench where players sit is now gone. There are individually placed chairs that have a Gatorade station, this ensures some distance and also filters the possibility of sharing drinks. Players have been assigned their specific chair and this will not be changing throughout the course of their time in the bubble.
Each team has a meal room with menus that have been designed in accordance with their needs and staff dieticians. Thus, players can eat together and have some sense of socialness and unity. Servers are, of course, protected and glass shields shield any sneezing from players on to food. Players have no choice but to stay in shape and diet accordingly.
Antetokounmpo Brothers In The Bubble
Giannis, Kostas, and Thanasis are all in the NBA and thus, they are in the bubble together. The three brothers are as competitive in the next and also quarantined together during the lockdown situation. The brothers are lucky to have one another and were seen surprising Thanasis for his birthday as well as having a little celebration together. The Antetokounmpo brothers have hopes of all playing in the finals together, but in the meantime, they are grateful to spend time together and play the occasional Uno game.
The NBA stars are still enjoying life and celebrating accordingly wit a few birthdays having fallen during this time. One of them being Kyle Kuzma’s whose teammates reported throwing a Pizza Party for, his girlfriend Winnie Harlow also sent him a little message on a flying plane that circled the NBA bubble. The message read, “Happy Birthday King Kuz, I love you – Winne.” The players are taken care of, it may not all be to their standards but they are certainly living better than most.