Adam Silver Acknowledges NBA Could Be Shut Down Again If There's A Leak In Orlando Bubble

Jill Painter Lopez

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has acknowledged that a leak in the league’s bubble site near Orlando could force another shutdown of the season. 

Silver discussed this virtually with Fortune Brainstorm Health. 

The NBA season was suspended March 11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the season is scheduled to be restarted July 30. Teams already have started to enter the bubble at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando. The Lakers are scheduled to arrive on Thursday.

“It would be concerning if once they sit through our quarantine period and then were to test positive, we would know there’s in essence a hole in our bubble or that our quarantine on our campus is not working in some way,” Silver told Fortune Brainstorm Health. “That would be very concerning.” 

Silver added that he expects that some players will test positive for the virus upon entering the bubble.  

“We won’t be surprised when they first come down to Orlando if we have some additional players that test positive,” Silver said. “What would be most concerning is once players enter thIs campus and then go through our quarantine period, then if they were to test positive or if we were to have any positive tests, we would know we would have an issue.”

The MLS also has a bubble at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex, and the WNBA bubble is at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. 

Already, FC Dallas is out of the MLS Is Back tournament after 10 players tested positive for COVID-19. On Wednesday, the league postponed the second match of its first day of competition because five Nashville players tested positive for the virus.

Silver, however, said he's hopeful that the NBA bubble will be safer for players than the outside world. 

"I’m confident based on the positive cases we’re seeing from our players and the general public around the country that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus, in part, because we’re going to be doing daily testing," he said. "Incidentally, when our players aren’t playing, which is the vast majority of the time, they’re there. They’ll be observing physical distancing and wearing masks. It’s a very protected environment. But again, this virus has humbled many. So I’m not going to express any higher level of confidence than we’re following the protocols and we hope it works as we designed it.”

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