By Bennett Lax ’23
Flashback to March 11th, 2020, whisperings of a player with COVID-19 circulated throughout the NBA. I remember getting ready to watch the Thunder-Jazz game when right before tip-off, the benches cleared and the players were sent back to their locker rooms. I was utterly confused until I checked my phone to find the shocking news that all-NBA center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
Fast forward to July 30th, 141 days after the league was suspended, action resumed, but this time in a completely different setting. Eight teams were eliminated from playoff contention, but the remaining 22, still fighting for a playoff spot, went to Orlando. The NBA made Disney World “a bubble.” No one was allowed in or out: all the staff, coaches, and players were forced to stay within the confines of the park. Every team had designated times where they could practice, and there was not a shortage of courts or balls. Congratulations goes to NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver for managing to put the entire thing together.
NBA players are forced to adapt to many different environments; they’re always traveling, always on the move, but this time it was very different. Not even the Orlando Magic were allowed to leave the “bubble” and go see their families. For some NBA players, it felt like a cage, for other younger players it was refreshing to only have to focus on basketball and video Games.
One can see this in the outcomes of NBA bubble games. The young, fresh Suns won every single game, while the old, and very talented Lakers only won their first eight games. To summarize this concept, younger teams played better than older teams. The NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint, and the older veterans are used to that marathon. They can win the marathon, but they don’t worry about winning the sprint. The fresher, faster legs win more often than they lose in these types of situations.
This COVID-19 situation was handled perfectly by the NBA staff. The idea was great, the execution was great, and not a single player or member of the staff tested positive for COVID-19 at any point. In September, the NBA announced zero players tested positive for COVID-19 inside the Disney bubble for the fifth straight week. Currently, the NBA season is still going on solely due to Adam Silver and his genius ideas.