• phil cantor/@osgphil

The NBA's Disney "Bubble" May Already be in Danger of Bursting



It seems like just days ago in the 4,512 days of 2020 we heard the NBA's elaborate plan to place and house 22-teams, team officials, referees and family members in a protective cocoon at Walt Disney World in the Orlando area.


The plan which includes an detailed testing plan for people coming in and out of the Wide World of Sports Complex and associated hotels has tentatively been agreed to by the league and its players--but not without problems that are beginning to flare up on an almost daily basis.


The players have expressed concerns over the isolation and rightfully so. They essentially would be spending at least a few months without the ability to do much of anything other than play. Which for many of them--is a big problem. Many also want to stay connected to and participate in the quickly burgeoning racial equality movement in our midst. They would be hard pressed to lend their support in isolation.


Yet it isn't the biggest problem or concern....


The issue freaking out the players and owners at this time is the exponential spike in Coronavirus cases within the State of Florida. Florida was one of the very first states to all but totally relax restrictions due to Covid-19 and large gatherings have brought back the virus almost immediately. Yes, I know those of a certain political persuasion don't believe this matters--but it does. Yes, I'm aware the death rate has not grown by the same numbers--but that is a completely irrelevant argument.


How do you make a "Bubble" safe when you have workers going in and out of it? For all the NBA's money and power combined with Disney's ownership of a large swath of Central Florida, they can't control what workers do in their off time. They cannot tell a housekeeper who won't be housed in "The Bubble" what they can or cannot do while not at work. Even with checks, there's no guarantee the virus won't make its way into the facility.


According to reports--the Orlando area has not been hit quite as bad as the rest of the "Sunshine State". But it does in no way, shape or form, lessen the risk.


There is a part of me that really, really wants to see "Bubble Basketball" happen. It would be in many ways a "Gamechanger" in the way Professional Sports are presented. To make this work without any hitch would be a remarkable achievement and would give NBA Team Owners what they really want--which is the ability to finish a season and collect most of their TV revenue money. Which at the end of the day is what this mostly is about.


But the realist in me also is quite aware the virus has and does not play by the rules. Denial is not making it go away. That's a wild card that even the best laid plans can't account for.


Which is the whole reason we are having this conversation...

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