The NBA And Disney: Let the Games Begin

It’s entertainment at best, irresponsible at worst.

The National Basketball Association-Walt Disney Company’s grand experiment, a $150 million bubble designed to keep players, coaches, training staffs and the traveling parties of 22 teams and league officials is beginning. The goal is to get the NBA’s 2019-2020 season done and start a playoff season with the hope of crowning a champion. All of this is taking place on a parcel of Walt Disney World land near Orlando, Florida. COVID-19 is spreading at an enormous rate in Florida and in the vicinity of the bubble. Players will be sequestered so they won’t have to deal with real world things like going to a supermarket or out for a meal or to a club. About one-third of the 22 NBA teams that are participating in the Disney bubble have closed local practice facilities because people in those buildings tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver concedes there is a risk to players, coaches and staff but it seems most of the sports world is fine with the risk and that includes commissioners, owners, players, staff, athletic trainers and sports media covering games. And then there is Disney, which owns ESPN. Disney needs the NBA programming for ESPN. This is ready made programming in a sterile atmosphere which should get some eyeballs in front of the TV to watch the self-proclaimed world sports leader. The AT &T owned Turner Sports will also be carrying NBA bubble games.

The NBA has players with COVID-19 and there will be constant testing, and if a test comes back positive, isolation and contact tracing are part of the protocol. The Disney staff attending to NBA personnel needs are not staying in the bubble and will go home daily. The staff has rules to follow. The games must go on.