Small issues aside, the NBA’s “bubble” idea has gone about as ideally as possible. The latest round of COVID-19 testing had zero positives, a sign the social distancing and isolation protocols the NBA put into place are working.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has grown “cautiously optimistic” about the league being able to pull off its seeding and playoff games without incident.
“From my standpoint, it’s going very well, and I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re on the right track,” Silver told Marc Stein of the New York Times. “But I also recognize what we’re doing has not been done before, and the competition is just beginning. The real test will come when players are commingling, playing basketball without masks and without physical distancing.”
Of the major professional sports leagues, the NBA has put together the most comprehensive and ambitious plan to deal with the threat of COVID-19. Whereas MLB had COVID-19 concerns on its opening weekend—particularly because of an outbreak among Miami Marlins players—the NBA’s biggest issue over the weekend was whether Lou Williams was at Magic City for wings or adult entertainment.
That Williams will have to quarantine for 10 days after leaving the bubble, missing two seeding games, speaks to how seriously the NBA is taking the virus. Players in MLB and the NFL are essentially free to live their regular lives, taking all the risks that come with that, and baseball’s season is already at risk less than a week after Opening Day.
The Marlins were forced to cancel their home opener Monday after at least 14 staff members (including 12 players) tested positive for COVID-19, per Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers of ESPN. The Marlins were in Philadelphia all weekend and played Sunday’s game against the Phillies despite having four known positive tests among players.
While the NBA has not faced these issues, the bubble does have its own drawbacks—most notably a player’s separation from friends and family. The league has made mental health a priority for players in the bubble, but there has been an adjustment period.
“I think you get into a rhythm and that becomes a new normal,” Pelicans guard JJ Redick said. “The biggest thing for me has been being around my teammates because that’s such a big part of why I like playing basketball. That’s sort of been keeping me sane, because, for me, being away from my family has been a challenge.”
Courtesy: Bleacher Report