When the coronavirus entered into the United States, sports were always a question. The National Basketball Association and many other sports were suspended on March 11, 2020. When sports and school were getting cancelled, COVID-19 became very real. Further into quarantine, many questioned the future of sports. A suggested solution was to try a “NBA bubble.”
“I think that many of those organizations, like the NBA, had to get really creative to try to be able to hold the season,” Mr. Kent Bray, the former assistant varsity basketball coach said. “I believe they thought the best way to protect the players was by putting them in a bubble and playing without any fans!”
The NBA bubble consists of all players, coaches, and essential personnel. The goal is that if each person comes into the NBA bubble without being infected with COVID-19, they could continue playing. No people outside of the bubble are allowed in, and there are no fans. During the games fan noise is used to make the games feel more “normal.” Allowing no fans, the NBA’s goal is to keep the entire group clear of the virus and not contribute to the spread.
Many teams arrived on July 7 and were scheduled to play on July 30. If a team is to make it to the playoffs, they will be in the NBA bubble until Oct. 12. After a team is eliminated, they are allowed to leave and return home.
The NBA bubble is hosted in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex located in Orlando, Florida. Each of the teams stay at one of the three hotels hosting. Twenty two teams were invited, and all of them are inside the NBA bubble. Disney World is a very isolated place, making it easy to be used as a “bubble.”
When each team arrived, they were all tested twice for the coronavirus, and each person had to stay isolated from everyone for up to forty eight hours. The only way to get out of isolation was to have two negative tests. Out of the 332 players inside the bubble, only two tested positive and were sent home to quarantine by themselves, and were not allowed to reenter into the bubble.
As of now, no guests are allowed in the bubble, but as they continue throughout the playoffs, more personnel will be allowed to join. If certain teams make it past the first round of playoffs, they can reserve a hotel room for four guests. Each guest is allowed one ticket per playoff game.
If any player is to leave the bubble or get caught leaving, they will have to self-isolate for 10 days. If they have to leave for a family emergency, they stay quarantined for four days and get tested twice. After getting tested, they must receive two negatives to be able to return to play.
For the Marian basketball season ahead, assistant coach Miss Jessica Abel said, “I am extremely hopeful that Marian will have a basketball season this winter! The key to having a full season is being safe and smart as a team. This year we have much more to consider when staying healthy. With Covid still very much present in the community, players and coaches will need to be diligent to follow safety protocol at practices and games, and even in their own time away from the team.”
The NBA’s goal for the bubble is to continue sports without infecting anyone with COVID-19. The goal is for a team to leave Orlando as the 2019-2020 NBA champion. The games can be watched on NBA TV, and games are played throughout the week. Many other sports are continuing to play through a bubble like professional baseball and hockey.