With the NBA season eyeing a return for July 30th, the league has put their trust into a bubble system in Disney World Florida. The idea is that all of the players will live exclusivley in hotels around the Disney World campus, with the games taking place in the Disney Wide World of Sports complex; Disney World is effectively the bubble for the remainder of the NBA season. Players will be subjected to regular testing for COVID-19, temperature testing, social distancing, and isolation housing for those that do test positive throughout their time in Orlando. If a player tests positive once the games resume, they will need to test negative on two different occasions and will surely be sidelined for at least two weeks – a move that could prove to shape the playoffs if a star is to test positive during an important series. The players are not allowed to venture outside of the “bubble” without permission – leaving without permission results in a 10-day quarantine as well as numerous COVID-19 tests.
However, it is yet to be seen if the strict measures being taken will actually prove to be effective. With Florida reaching startling new records in daily coronavirus cases, it will prove interesting to see how much of a bubble this Disney World system will actually be for the NBA coaches, players, and staff. Stars such as Russell Westbrook, Nikola Jokic, and Spencer Dinwiddie have already tested positive for COVID-19 and this is just the start of the bubble – almost three weeks remain before the games start, showing it may be hard to actually resume play if cases continue rising within the bubble. As it stands the NBA is pressing forward with their intention to resume the season through this bubble method.
Players testing positive are not the only problems coming out of the bubble. Violations of the strict rules set forth by the NBA have already surfaced. One of which involves a player inviting over a woman – via Instagram direct message – long before players are allowed to have any guests come into the bubble – the player has yet to be named publicly, however, surf the web long enough and you can find some speculative guesses by fans. Along with this, some players have violated the rules of the bubble accidentally. Houston Rockets young center Bruno Caboclo has been charged with violations to the rules: Caboclo unknowingly violated the rules by leaving his room during the 48-hour mandatory quarantine all teams had to complete upon their arrival to the bubble. This violation by Caboclo will not yield major repercussions – merely an 8-day self-quarantine will come out of the situation. However, it does show the plethora of rules and regulations that are in place seeking to keep the bubble from being popped and the NBA from losing out on even more money.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how this unique plan set forth by the NBA is able to address and handle all of these various scenarios which will pose risks to the bubble system. Furthermore, with the cases in Florida surging, the feasibility of the bubble remains a question of morality and image for the NBA brand during such a pressing time for the nation and the world. The anxious wait to see if a coronavirus champion is able to be crowned this 2020 season awaits those on the other side of the bubble.