Inside the NBA Bubble | Teen Ink

Inside the NBA Bubble

March 16, 2021
By pohlej23 BRONZE, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts
pohlej23 BRONZE, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

How would you feel if you had to leave your family and friends?
Lonely, bored, sad? These are some of the feelings NBA players had to
experience when they left those things behind for many months. NBA players had
to deal with abnormal experiences this season due to COVID, including minimum
socialization, no fans, and essentially existing in a bubble. In the end, they
did the best they could and turned a negative experience into a positive one.

In the bubble that enveloped this past NBA season, players had limited time every day
to talk with teammates in person, and could only call and facetime family. They were
technically self-isolated from others while in their hotel rooms. The only time players
could socialize with teammates were during practices and games. Tadd Haislop, from
Sporting News, stated, “ Nobody in the NBA bubble is allowed to have guests – at least
not yet. Things may change when playoffs come around.” Later, when the playoffs did
begin, he reported, “The NBA and National Basketball Players Association negotiated
new terms that, per ESPN, will allow as many as four guests per player with
exceptions for children."

Even though the athletes could have guests visit during playoffs, they were still isolated
for the most part. Not only was there no real social interaction, but there were also
no fans to cheer on the players.

No crazy fans, no loud cheering – just a abnormally silent arena. Even though the
stands were empty, the NBA tried to make the players feel like they had a crowd
cheering for them by projecting virtual fans on large jumbotron screens. Sometimes,
just the sound of cheering was piped into the arena over large speakers. Some NBA
players and coaches felt this was weird. In an interview with NPR, Javale McGee (of
the Boston Celtics) told a reporter that it began to feel weird to hear but not see a
crowd. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed with McGee, saying that he thought
that NBA fans watching games from home should hear player interactions instead of
fake crowd noises. Finally, when the finals came around, so did some in-person human
noise. The NBA let spouses of players enter the bubble to watch them perform in the last dance of the season. Although it was tough without the loud crowd, players still
got through it, even while wearing masks the majority of every day.

Although players and coaches had to leave family to go to Disney "bubble" for the
playoffs, they made the best they could out of their trip. Some players, such as Javele
Mcgee and Matisse Thybulle decided to document the life inside the bubble. For
example, some socially distanced activities included golfing, swimming, fishing, hiking,
playing video games, and team practices. Other players made the best of the trip by
deciding that they were going to convert hotel rooms into different things. One
room became a barbershop, while another became a spa.

NBA players had to experience something different than normal last season. Although
there was minimal socialization, no home courts and no fans in the 2020-2021 NBA
season, players did the best they could to make the best out of the new normal. No
family, no friends, and even no fans. Clearly this was a difficult time for the NBA players,
but they stayed strong together and made it work.

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