Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
While MLB and the NFL have been publicly feuding with their players over safety issues, the NBA‘s Orlando bubble has mostly opened without incident—both in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases and relative lack of complaints from players.
As players get settled into the bubble, those around the league are beginning to express optimism about the season’s resumption.
“What the league is working to pull off is just f–king epic,” one executive told ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “I do feel really good about how things are going thus far.”
The NBA’s “bubble” is without question the most comprehensive and ambitious of any major sports league’s plan to resume play amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL and MLB will essentially allow players to live their normal lives, conducting seasons that include air travel and hotel stays. The NHL is holding its playoffs with two similar “host” cities, but the level of amenities being given to hockey players pales in comparison to what the NBA has offered.
Complaints about the bubble have been relatively small (e.g. mediocre food) and have slowed since players have gotten out of their required quarantine phase. Many players have turned bubble life into a content opportunity, hopping on Instagram, doing beer chugging contests or streaming video games.
We’ll have to see how the bubble scenario holds up once games begin and once the novelty of the bubble begins to wear off. However, the NBA deserves some level of credit for putting together a plan that has seemingly satisfied players in the midst of a pandemic.