Dear NBA: The Bubble Won’t Work!

The National Basketball Association is playing itself by insisting players risk their health to entertain people.

The NBA is a really curiously dangerous situation for staff and players alike right about now.

When I look at the cable sports networks that are gearing up to cover the NBA players as they prepare to enter the NBA “Bubble” in Orlando, and most TV sports network talking heads are speaking in a manner that suggests they have little to no fear that anything bad will happen to their favorite players as they’re pressured and prodded into finishing the abbreviated NBA season. 

But day by day comes yet another chunk of evidence to suggest that Adam Silver should just yank the cord out of the wall for the remainder of the NBA season. I don’t know, call it a mulligan or something. But it seems like the NBA and some of the players themselves are willing to risk it all to scratch America’s basketball Jones.  

But, baby, it ain’t that much basketball love in the world for me to put my life on the line to play a game, even if that game afforded me riches, luxury and fame beyond my wildest dreams.

Recently the Milwaukee Bucks announced they would be closing down their facility due to COVID. They join the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets on the list of NBA franchises that shut their facilities due to COVID, according to reports. 

New guidelines suggest any player who contracted COVID must test negative twice before being medically cleared to make the trip. 

As recently as June 29, the NBA conducted tests of 344 players, with only 9 players testing positive. As of July 6th, the number has risen to 25. 

Of the 884 NBA staffers tested, only 10 came back positive for COVID. 

NBA basketball is one of the most physically taxing athletic endeavors in the world. With the running, jumping, wrestling in the paint, hard screens and attrition on the bones and ligaments, it’s imperative that players are in peak physical condition. Thus far the jury is still out on long term effects of COVID on the body of asymptomatic carriers. Recent reports suggest it attacks the blood and isn’t respiratory-related. 

Any player participating understands that they are taking a huge chance with their health.

NBA team staff members have fared better, with 10 positive tests out of 884. 

But with the NBA restart scheduled in Florida, which recently had back-to-back record days of COVID-19 diagnosis, the danger is still palpable. There is no way to ensure player safety.  

So, the only logical thing to do is shut it down. 

Thus far, Trevor Ariza, Victor Oladipo, Avery Bradley, Wilson Chandler and Thabo Sefolosha are among the players who’ve chosen to sit out the restart.

WNBA players have expressed similar issues as they prepare to have their own bubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida and some have chosen to sit out for advocacy or health reasons. 

And I can’t say I blame them.