Despite the fact that players are raising some concerns about the situation, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the NBA doesn’t restart its season in Orlando next month. These various issues, as raised on a call reportedly led by Kyrie Irving on Friday night, will presumably be the source of conversation between the league and its Player’s Association over the coming weeks.
One issue cannot be negotiated away: The United States is currently in the midst of a pandemic, and while the league can take every single precaution possible to make sure those at their various Disney World locations, COVID-19 does not care, as evidenced by the more than two million cases and nearly 117,000 deaths it has caused nationwide. An optimist would say that all of these precautions would work, but as the saying goes, hope for the best and plan for the worst. And in a conversation with Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Player’s Association executive director Michele Roberts expressed that her approach before the bubble league begins is that someone will contract the virus.
“That’s the only realistic mind-set you can have going into this. A player is going to test positive,” Roberts said. “It’s not any more of this ‘if’, it’s ‘when’ and what can I do to mitigate against the ‘when.’ When it happens, if I’m not successful, what treatment is available to me, what are my chances of being really, really sick, and how are you detecting the presence of an infection?
“Honestly, I don’t think this is any different than what any American has to come to grips with.”
Roberts, of course, is 100 percent correct, especially with reports coming out in recent days that Disney staffers won’t adhere to the restrictions the NBA puts on its players and are free to come and go as they please. That’s magnified by the fact that Florida has seen an increase in the number of new COVID cases in recent days.
Perhaps the league will get lucky and everyone will stay healthy, which is what every single person is rooting for once they get down to Orlando and set up shop at Disney for several months. But Roberts is a realist, and the reality is that there’s a major risk looming over this entire situation.