NBA players have been in the Walt Disney World “bubble” for almost a week now and many of them are less than enthused to be living in an isolated hotel in preparation for the 2020 season. Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell, for example, made an Instagram post after being in the bubble for less than 24 hours that showed a picture of what looked like uncooked chicken. He captioned the post “This ain’t it, I’m about to starve out here in Orlando,” setting the tone for many other players’ reactions to being locked away and isolated from the world.
The league is set to fully relaunch on July 30th, but many players are arriving early for pre-season/ to remain isolated for two weeks ahead of the season to make sure they’re healthy enough to play. The first game is set to be between the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans. All players must receive two negative Covid-19 results that are 24 hours apart before they’ll be able to leave their hotel rooms.
NBA spokesperson Michael Bass recently spoke to the media about the specifics of the living conditions within the bubble as time progresses:
“After clearing quarantine, players will also have access to various restaurants on campus and delivery options to choose from … There is never a shortage of food options – players can always request additional food by speaking with their team nutritionists.”
Many players besides Harrell have also been documenting their Disney Hotel journeys upon arrival. Some have shared more positive sentiments, showing off their stellar views and elaborate room setups, but for the most part, the posts have seemed relatively negative. Many players have been adamant about the lack of quality food and Wi-Fi making it difficult to contact their loved ones back home.
One of the most viral posts came from Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyrus Jones who posted a photo of a dead cockroach in his room, along with a plate of food many have been describing as “airplane quality.”
These posts emulate a massive conflict that all major sports league players are facing in the coming months. Is the sacrifice to provide professional sports entertainment to the public in the middle of a global health crisis really worth it? Many have made the comparison to television and movie studios in Hollywood shutting down all production indefinitely to the major leagues, claiming that professional sports require the same level of person-to-person interaction as recording a scene for a TV show, so why are they continuing to play? Disney World is also located in Florida, which has become one of the world’s new epicenters for the virus.
Major League Soccer kicked off their season this past week, but has also had two teams pull out of the season after players tested positive for Covid-19. The separation of players and the world within these bubbles is also taking a psychological toll on players already, as many will likely not be able to see their loved ones again for at least 50 days depending on how the season progresses and if there’s any new case numbers within the bubble.
In the bubble, players are required to remain isolated, will be tested daily for the coronavirus, and policies such as wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing are still required.