NBA in Disney

Sports in general look different this year. Read on to learn about how the NBA is getting creative to avoid COVID-19.

By Evan Weiss

March 11th, 2020. The NBA announced the suspension of the 2019-2020 season after a player, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for COVID-19. The sports world was shocked and heartbroken, the future of the sport in jeopardy. For almost three months, the sports world waited and waited on any type of news that showed movement towards a season restart. On June 4th, 2020, that news came. The NBA approved a plan to continue the 2019-2020 season with 22/30 teams playing at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which is now known to be called the NBA bubble

Games are currently being played behind closed doors at the sports complex, while teams are lodging at the Disney World hotels. After playing three exhibition scrimmages inside the bubble in late July, the invited teams played eight additional regular season games to determine playoff seeding. The playoffs began on August 1, and the 2020 finals are scheduled to begin on September 30. The bubble has proven to be extremely effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Leading up to the resumption of play on July 30, there were two consecutive weeks of zero players testing positive for COVID-19.This streak was continued after play resumed, with five consecutive weeks of zero players testing positive for COVID-19 as of August 19. Close friends and family of players and coaches began to be admitted to the bubble starting on August 31.The decision by the NBA to enact bubble play had initially received mixed reaction from its players and coaches, with some players referring to it as a prison sentence. Other players complained about the food, with Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid showing his meal and said that he was “definitely losing 50 lbs.”. After arriving in the bubble, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon said it felt “strange,” while Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr. described the feeling as “surreal” Near the end of the regular season, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated that the bubble was “better than what we had envisioned.Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler used the opportunity to start a coffee shop in the bubble, where he charged $20 per cup. 

Multiple games have been going on in the bubble almost everyday since the restart of the season. Because the bubble offers three different playing courts, teams are able to play often, every other day to be exact, which has made the bubble very enjoyable for fans and players. When the players are not playing or practicing, they can choose from the many activities the resorts have to offer. These activities include golf, fishing, arcade, barbershop, pool and spa, an upscale restaurant, and more. Currently, the NBA is right in the heart of the playoffs with the Lakers, Heat, and Celtics in the conference final, and either the Clippers or Nuggets will soon join. I asked two students at Byram Hills who they think will win it all, and who will take home The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Jesse Wild, a junior at Byram Hills, is rolling with a bold prediction, and is taking the Miami Heat to win it with Jimmy Butler winning the MVP. Ben Dreilinger, another junior at Byram Hills, is going with the common pick, as he thinks the Clippers will win with Kawhi Leanard as MVP. Every team currently in the bubble has what it takes to win it all, it is wide open. You know what that means? We are going to have some great games and series in the coming weeks, so brace yourselves, basketball fans.