The NBA’s bubble at Disney World was both highly successful and highly unpopular.
The setup stemmed the spread of coronavirus, allowing the league to finish last season – and make a lot of money in the process. But separated from family and friends, players found the experience fairly miserable. Owners didn’t like the high costs of operation, either. Everyone saw other sports continue outside a bubble and preferred that route.
So far, it’s working – enough, at least. Despite numerous coronavirus cases and postponements, the league continues its money-making operation overall.
But some teams have been hit harder than others. Seven Wizards reportedly contracted coronavirus, and Washington faced a historic interruption.
That has Wizards star Bradley Beal the rare player talking positively about returning to a bubble.
Beal, via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:
“I probably wouldn’t be totally against it as long as we had the same success that we did the first go-around. I wasn’t part of the bubble in the first go-around, so I don’t necessarily know how all that worked down there every day. But I know going through it every day here, it’s a lot,” he said.
“We test twice a day at least for the last week. That’s very overwhelming at times. But I feel like if we’re able to be safe and control the virus and just control the spread of it; I’m all in favor of it. I just want to hoop. Hoopers hoop.”
As Beal said, he didn’t play in the first bubble. Players not at Disney World heard the initial positive returns from their peers. They didn’t live the burdensome weeks in isolation.
The protocols NBA players now face are certainly more restrictive than their normal living conditions. Beal got sidelined because of a postgame chat (which are now prohibited). But frequent testing was also a feature of the bubble. That’s why it worked.
A bubble would increase safety and, as Beal put it, allow hoopers to hoop.
He might not find the grass greener on the other side, though – as many players who went to the first bubble would attest.