A number of the details for the NBA’s bubble league plan still need to be worked out, but the general gist of the whole thing is that 22 teams will head to Disney and play out a truncated regular season, a potential play-in for the 8-seed, and a full postseason. The basketball-specific portions of the plan are the headliners, but a whole lot has needed to go into this plan in an attempt to keep players and personnel as safe as possible in the face of COVID-19.
That portion of the plan got a major endorsement from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In an interview with Michael Kim of Stadium, Fauci signed off on the plan, praising it for being “quite creative.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci told @Stadium he is supportive of the NBA’s restart plan: “It’s quite creative.. I think they might very well be quite successful with it… They really wanted to make sure that the safety of the players was paramount.” pic.twitter.com/qwo5bCDrVt
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 13, 2020
“I actually have looked at that plan and it is really quite creative,” Fauci said. “What they are really trying to do, and I think they might very well be quite successful with it, is to create a situation where it is as safe as it possibly could be for the players by creating this bubble — essentially testing everybody, make sure that you start with a baseline of everybody being negative and trying to make sure there is no influx into that cohort of individuals and do a tournament-type play.”
Fauci continued to heap the praise onto the plan, saying that he does not find it reckless and that he believes, if it works, it could “possibly” end up being a model for other leagues that would like to go with a bubble approach.
“They really wanted to make sure that the safety of the players, and the people associated with the players, was paramount,” Fauci said.
This endorsement from the nation’s top infectious disease doctor came one day after a collection of players hopped on a phone call to express some reservations they have with the plan. It also comes on the same day that Player’s Association executive director Michele Roberts said that she is operating under the assumption that someone will contract the virus while players are posted up in Orlando.
There are still a number of concerns with this plan, because nothing is truly ironclad and we just won’t know whether or not it will work until everyone gets to Disney. Still, all the league can hope to do at this point is have a good plan in place, and in Fauci’s eyes, that’s what is happening.
“For the people who are thirsting for basketball, who love basketball, the way I do, it’s something that I think is a sound plan,” Fauci said.