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The NBA’s Disney Bubble Sounds Like the Strangest Summer Camp Ever

In Wednesday’s Hot Clicks: inside the NBA’s plans for Orlando, the first look at Tom Brady in a Bucs jersey and more.

It’s just like sleep-away camp, minus the bunk beds

The NBA’s plan to resume the season in Orlando sounds a lot like sending the players to basketball camp—except they could be there for a long time. 

The league sent a memo Tuesday night to teams and players outlining the plans for the Disney campus environment. Teams will stay at one of three hotels and won’t be allowed to leave the resort except on team-sponsored excursions or under preapproved circumstances. 

The health and safety manual distributed to players clocks in at a whopping 113 pages. That’s a lot of rules! It lays out procedures for coronavirus testing, plans for if and when someone on campus tests positive and all the measures designed to decrease the risk of transmission inside the hotels. The broad strokes are that everyone has to wear a mask inside unless they’re in their own room or eating. (If anybody is seen breaking the rules, people are encouraged to report it to a hotline.)

But it goes much deeper than that. The league really did think of everything. According to The Athletic, while the common areas of the hotels will have video game stations, card tables and Ping-Pong for players, you can’t wear a headset while playing video games, a new deck of cards will be opened for each game and games of doubles Ping-Pong are outlawed. 

It sounds like a stressful experience, made even more stressful by the fact that they’ll be trying to win an NBA championship. The league is trying to alleviate some of that stress by providing amenities in the hotels (like the players-only lounge with video games and card tables) and allowing for field trips to go fishing, bowling and golfing. It really is like a fancy summer camp. 

But will the amenities be enough to keep players entertained and help maintain their sanity? These are guys who are used to getting top-notch treatment at the hottest restaurants and clubs in their cities. A lot of their houses have better amenities than Disney hotels. And now you’re asking them to stay sequestered in a resort until perhaps as late as mid-October? One of the potential team outings, according to The Athletic, is a trip to Disney’s “NBA Experience,” which is where fans can pretend to be NBA players by going through mock scouting combine drills and posing for photos dunking on a hoop of adjustable height. That’s cool if you’re 14, but not if you’re actually in the league

NBA players are giving up a lot to get the season up and running again and provide some much-needed entertainment for a beleaguered nation. I appreciate them doing so, but I also hope they tweet constantly about what life is like inside the bubble. 

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