Remember those heady days of, like, three weeks ago when we were all excited for the NBA to return to Disney World and give us the much-needed dose of basketball we’d been craving? Yeah, that’s all gone to hell.
In the past week the promise of the NBA season being played out under pandemic conditions in Orlando has turned into a complete and utter mess, and while there’s currently no plans to alter the league’s restart, there’s not really a way to envision this going well.
Things started to look bad as soon as testing results came out.
The NBA’s first round of testing took place on Friday, and the result was not good. A total of 16 players, out of 302 tested positive for Covid-19, representing 5.3 percent of players set to play in Orlando.
This might seem like a small number, but it’s not. It’s just under half the total reported positive test rate by the CDC, which focuses primarily on people who displayed symptoms. In addition, the infection rate is roughly 5x that of the country as a whole. This is likely a factor of blanket testing, but it shows that NBA players, even with their considerable resources, were unable to insulate themselves from Covid-19 infection.
The test results also raised more ancillary problems. The New Orleans Pelicans, one of the most anticipated teams to watch because of Zion Williamson, announced that three of their players were amount the positive tests in the league. This raised questions whether coach Alvin Gentry (who is 65 years old) would join the team in Florida due to the health risk.
Players started announcing they were pulling out.
Over the weekend DeAndre Jordan of the Brooklyn Nets announced that he’d tested positive for Covid-19, and as a result would not be traveling to Orlando. Wizards guard John Wall was a possibility to return from Achilles surgery, but the team announced he wouldn’t be playing either, citing a need to keep their bubble “small” in Florida, and not wanting to risk a player coming off the inactive list.
Then the Denver Nuggets, one of the best teams in the West prior to the suspension of play, were forced to close their training facility after two members of the organization tested positive as well. The team is now in limbo, waiting to determine when they can reopened their facility and practiced, based on testing results moving forward.
Of course, Florida is a total mess in its own right.
Looming over this whole situation is that Florida is basically a Covid-19 hellscape at this point. Cases are surging by the thousands, very little control is taking place, and what once seemed like a good location for the NBA to resume play is now one of the riskiest place in the country based on new and confirmed cases.
Perhaps the worst part of all this was Stephen A. Smith getting giddy while discussing sex.
Stephen A Smith on NBA players breaking the Disney Bubble because they’re going to be sexually frustrated and need to go out for “recreational activities”… pic.twitter.com/trgMrAUeAl
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) June 30, 2020
I could have done without that.