The NBA Bubble is Popping

Gabe Zaldivar

There’s a magical place where cornhole is actually called bags, chicken fingers are ordered at all hours of the night and basketball playing is plentiful.

Welcome to the NBA Bubble, it’s kind of like if you died and went to basketball heaven only to discover heaven is actually a very drab purgatory.

Basketball stars from all corners of the world have slowly been making their way to Orlando to attempt a safe restart to the NBA season.

Seeing as how COVID-19 cases are raging in Florida at the moment, this is kind of like trying to cool off by taking a shower in a burning building.

Now the NBA was already chockablock filled with some of the best personalities in sports. 

When they aren't playing video games they're complaining about the food. There is something about these grown men descending on one resort that makes it seem equally like a summer camp and retirement home, and I can’t get enough. 

The greatest documentary that will never be shot is unfolding right now, and we are only getting it piecemeal through social media.


Levity aside, these NBA players are leaving friends and family, not knowing with any certainty whether the season will be a complete one or whether they will remain unscathed from COVID-19 illness.

This led to some remarkable arrivals, such as 76ers big man Joel Embiid showing up as if he were on the set of “Contagion 2.”

And the fact that NBA players are normally used to staying with family or in lavish rooms makes absolutely any video of them describing the bubble have a certain being kept for ransom feel to it:

As for packing, some players are lighter travelers than others. Sneaker geek PJ Tucker reportedly left for the bubble with 60 sneakers.

I no longer feel bad packing two pairs of jeans when traveling.

Patrick Beverley is apparently a superhero whose costume is the astoundingly versatile white t-shirt.

And a touching moment played out when two star-crossed former teammates found each other.

The Bobi & Tobi Show is renewed in the bubble, albeit a socially distanced reunion for a time. NBA players were mandated to self-quarantine within the bubble for 48 hours before they could begin basketball operations and generally hang out with other players.

And if you’re trying to imagine how some of the players will spend their time, the ever-prolific Terrence Ross showed off the players’ area.

The Food

The most noteworthy aspect of the bubble popped up immediately, and it was that of the conditions of the players’ meals.

Perfectly fine food that we mortals might be used to eating at the airport, at the hotel or that random convention you’re forced to attend is being tweeted out as gruel. 

NBA players are getting a wake-up call as to what life is like when you aren’t able to pack your personal chef in your carry-on luggage.

Enes Kanter is sold though. 

The Gaming

Not sure how much basketball will be played, but I am certain there will be plenty of “Call of Duty” nights and mornings.

There is no shortage of images of players traveling with their gaming rigs.

And when they weren’t firing up the PC, some players were out casting and reeling in some trophy fish.

Although, some were more successful than others at throwing them back.

Ben Simmons’ jumpshot still leaves a lot to be desired.

And cornhole is a big pastime. 

Although not sure what this "bags" guff is all about. 

NBA players understand one of life's greatest truths. Golf is the perfect excuse for day drinking. 

The Scene

We are all Dwight Howard.

Really, the best part over the weekend was JJ Redick making good on a social media wager.

Meyers Leonard has Redick beat on form and speed, however. 

I want to give it up to the proud men of the NBA who are doing a great job of giving us all great entertainment before the games even start. 

The NBA bubble is truly a magical place of "boccolini," poorly attended DJ sets and cornhole. I wish I could visit.