`Bubble' life already a challenge for Heat and players around NBA

Shandel Richardson

In the fall of 2014, I was fortunate enough to travel with the Miami Heat on their trip to Brazil for a preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

A few media members were allowed to fly on the team plane. It was a completely different experience from the Planes, Trains and Automobiles experience of flying commercial. Buses picked us up at AmericanAirlines Arena. We flew out of a private gate. When I arrived at my seat, there was a JBL speaker waiting. It was cool gift even though all the players left theirs because they likely had fancier models. There was a pre-flight meal, a mid-flight meal and a late-flight meal. We breezed through customs without seeing other travelers. When we landed, our bags were delivered to our hotel rooms.

I bring this up because of the stories across social media about NBA players struggling to adjust to the early conditions of quarantine life in the Orlando "bubble." It's quite the contrast from what they experience throughout the season. For starters, the Heat traveled by bus to Orlando.

Forward Meyers Leonard, who always seems to put things into perspective, even had struggles.

"I still got to figure out what I'm going to do about internet," Leonard said during an Instagram live session. "Apparently the Wi-Fi is trash. I'm about to bash my head against the wall, because my PC setup isn't working."

Troy Daniels of the Denver Nuggets kicked it off when he posted a picture of his league-provided meal, which basically resembled a box lunch. It gained so much traction the NBA released a statement to say the circumstances will improve in time.

"After clearing quarantine, players will also have access to various restaurants on campus and delivery options to choose from," the statement read. "Players will receive three meals a day and four meals on game days. There is never a shortage of food options — players can always request additional food by speaking with their team nutritionists."

In the end, the complaints from players were mostly in fun. Most realize how fortunate they are.

"It's not bad," Leonard said. "Listen, the truth of it is we really make good money playing basketball and I'm here to win. So I can deal with it."

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