A Once In A Lifetime Experience: The NBA Bubble


Graphic made by D. Nambiar

How Covid-19 has created new norms in the NBA.

This year, sports have come with many ups and downs. There was a point when we didn’t know when to expect sports to return, or even if we would ever see sports again. Sports leagues have taken measures to continue to play with restrictions. As a result, today, every major sport has returned with new approaches against Covid-19.

The NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida was an example of this. It was unexpected to hear that a game that surrounds itself in the atmosphere of fans had to suddenly play in empty gyms. The NBA now can boast an accomplishment no one except the NHL could achieve: zero coronavirus cases

It was an idea implemented way back in June 2020, when the NBA and its players planned a site to simply just play; no fans, no home-courts, just teams going head to head at the venue of Disney Wide World of Sports. The league and Commissioner Adam Silver were not messing around though, administering strict rules in the bubble. 

Players and staff had to leave their families for months on end. Major safety precautions were taken to ensure everyone was Covid-19 free and well. Everyone had to wear health rings that monitored symptoms, and went through daily Covid-19 tests and had to be checked no matter what building they were in. Many players, such as Lakers’ Javale McGee and 76ers Matisse Thybulle, recorded and shared their bubble experience. Their videos became fan favorites across the NBA community, since it gave an inside look on how the bubble worked. 

 Even chefs for the bubble, who had to make almost 4,000 meals a week, had firm guidelines and could not exit. They had to have “runners” who brought groceries from outside stores in order to get their supplies to cook. Chef Alexia Grant worked countless hours early in the day to provide meals to all players and staff in the bubble, she admitted it was tough, but wanted to feed everyone “the best way possible.” 

The bubble, which lasted over 4 months, proceeded to have no infections. As the NBA Playoffs proceeded, players were allowed to bring guests (mainly their family) to come stay with them, who all had to quarantine for days until they were allowed to even enter the premises. The NBA and NHL are the only organizations successful in combating against Covid-19. Leagues such as the NFL have seen teams have outbreaks of Covid-19,  and many other sports events have had problems with the pandemic as well. 

Now, the NBA hopes to have a 2020-21 season starting sometime in December-January, aiming to have teams compete at their own cities under different regulations.

In the end, it all paid off thanks to the hard work from executives in the league working to make this a reality, and the NBA Bubble will be known as a once in a lifetime experience.