When rumors of the NBA potentially resuming its season in a “bubble city” first surfaced, my mind immediately went to the dome from the seemingly impenetrable dome from “The Simpsons Movie.” While that was obviously never practical, I assumed the NBA would take that level of precaution when planning the season’s return.
Apparently, that won’t be the case. In a video call with reporters on Wednesday, Jared Dudley suggested the “bubbly city” will actually be more of a sliding door for players who want to go in and out:
On a video call with @JaredDudley619 right now, he says there’s a misconception of the “bubble” concept when the season restarts. Players won’t be confined by league orders, he says, but it’ll be made clear that if you go somewhere and catch Covid-19 you won’t be able to play.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) May 20, 2020
On a followup question, Jared Dudley says he believes most players would be responsible and not leave the bubble. But: "every team got a Rodman, he just doesn’t have green and blue hair," https://t.co/08MGoR4Jvp— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) May 20, 2020
Now, it’s important to note that no one — not even the players — has any idea what rules or restrictions will be in place when the NBA resumes its season, and we only have an inkling of an idea where games will be played. However, as a player who’s been on calls with the league’s decision-makers over the last few weeks, Dudley has a better idea of what’s going on than most people.
If the NBA is really going to give players the freedom to do as they please during their stay in Orlando, there’s a real possibility that the season will be suspended once again, and at that point, they’d have to consider shutting it down. As far as we know, the NBA plans to be diligent when it comes to testing its players for the coronavirus, but what’s going to happen if one of the careless players Dudley alluded to contracts the virus and spreads it to his teammates? Does that team just play shorthanded?
Beyond the competitive aspect, there are much more important issues of public healthy and safety that the league has to consider before brining players and staff from 30 teams in 21 different states to Orlando. The NBA can’t rely on its players to make the right decisions; they have to set boundaries, too — and if the players have a problem with those boundaries, then it’s probably too soon for the season to return.
Let’s hope they recognize that before they decide to return to play.