The NBA faces a big challenge ahead of the restart in Orlando, Florida later next month.
While the league has devised a specific set of health and safety protocols, the coronavirus pandemic has hit Orange County hard in recent weeks.
The spike in positive cases of COVID-19 could loom large on the restart. However, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the isolated nature of the Orlando “bubble” will make for a safe environment for players, coaches and staff (via the Dallas Morning News).
“It’s not like a typical arena environment and everything’s exactly the same except the fans aren’t there. It’s the exact opposite. Everything is protected. This is ‘Hotel California’ — you check-in and you do not leave. It’s very specific to health and safety protocols,” the Mavs boss said of the NBA bubble.
“Why would we go through all this to create a bubble and then just let all the employees that work at the arena or around the arena just come and go as they please? That would defeat the whole purpose.
“Trust me, we’re not going to screw up the whole thing because somebody from room service just went out drinking the night before in Orlando and then went … and gave the virus to somebody. We have gone so overboard in every direction that, honestly, it’s probably — given the ages of everybody — it’s probably safer to be in the bubble than it is to be at home in Dallas or any city.”
Not everyone feels the same as Cuban, however.
NBAplayers like Avery Bradley and Wilson Chandler have opted out of the restart, citing the health and safety of family members. It remains to be seen how many other players will make the same decision.
Nonetheless, Cuban thinks it may actually be safer for players in the bubble, partially because the NBA has instituted such sweeping measures.
One thing is for sure: basketball fans will be waiting with bated breath ahead of the NBA restart.