The NBA’s bubble league will begin seeding games on Thursday evening. While the games themselves will take center stage after the league’s months-long hiatus, there’s a perpetual concern about COVID-19 making its way into the bubble. The NBA has a rigid testing protocol and has managed to keep those in the bubble safe thus far, but all that needs to happen for a potential outbreak is for one person to slip up once.
As such, Adam Silver told Robin Roberts of Good Morning America that the league is figuring a number of things out on the fly, explaining that while the NBA has protocols in place for how it would handle an outbreak similar to what is happening in Major League Baseball, “it’s not an exact science because nobody has ever done this before.” He then took things a step further by indicating that if things got particularly bad in the bubble, he wouldn’t have any qualms about scrapping the entire project, saying the league is putting “health and safety first.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 29, 2020
“Probably if we had any significant spread at all, we’d immediately stop, and one thing we’d do is try to track those significant cases to determine where they’re coming from and whether there has been spread on the campus,” Silver said. “I would say, ultimately, we would cease completely if we saw that this was spreading around the campus and something more than isolated cases was happening.”
An optimist would point to both the NWSL and MLS for proof that this could work — the former pulled off a bubble league in Utah that did not have a single case within the bubble, while the latter has not seen a positive test following a pair of teams needing to pull out due to outbreaks within the bubble. A potentially four month-long operation is a little different, though, due to the sheer length of time, but here’s to hoping we do not have to figure out what the league would have to do should this situation arise.