Bubble Dribble: The return of NBA does not mean a return to normal

first_imgAs I’ve written before: The bubble is a workplace. And while work can be fun, the people here I’ve met take this seriously. The NBA wants the game to look and feel compelling. And it wants people on the outside to know they can still have one of a healthy society’s creature comforts.The messaging that the NBA bubble still cares about what’s going on outside is often carried through the players’ messages about social justice: They’re still thinking about Breonna Taylor, about racial injustices and imbalances that have plagued the country to the point where even now, people of color are disproportionately hurt by the pandemic. The protests likely at the national anthem and “Black Lives Matter” written on the court are a direct reminder that the outside world is still in here.Players have also left to handle family emergencies (and yes, that includes Lou Williams), and they’ve had to make tough choices about staying behind for family events and memories in service of their jobs. They are trying as best they can to stay in touch with loved ones, especially children, from afar.The bubble is a strange environment, there’s no doubt. There’s a sense of insulation from the troubles that are consuming the country and world. But those troubles are not forgotten, even though basketball can be an escape and a joy. When these three months are up, the people in here will return to whatever the outside world is — and the hope is things are better.When you turn on the TV tonight, you may be rooting for the people inside the bubble. The people inside the bubble are still rooting for you.– Kyle GoonEditor’s note: Thanks for reading the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter from reporter Kyle Goon, who is among the few reporters with a credential inside the NBA bubble. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.From the BubbleLeBron, the Lakers and time – The central question to the Lakers’ title hopes is if LeBron James can get to where he was in March.Anthony Davis should be back – An eye injury is better for AD now, even though he could wear rec specs against the Clippers.What about those Clippers though? – Mirjam previews their season as the other L.A. team faces off against the Lakers tonight.Staying in touch – How technology helps the Lakers connect with their families, but not completely.Markieff Morris gets in shape – The last missing Laker has finally taken the court and could be a piece of the rotation.The grind of the bubble – A piece on Lou Williams that reflects on life here, and won’t tell you how certain chicken wings taste. That last part touched on something that can be tough to reconcile: The bubble is physically disconnected from the rest of the country. But the people inside it are still connected, in one way or another, to what’s happening on the outside.Thursday night is a momentous evening for the NBA. Of all the major sports leagues, the NBA looks like it might have the best chance to finish its season: Under the radar, the league announced Wednesday that all players within the bubble have tested negative for coronavirus, and more players who were once quarantined and cordoned off from their teams have come in to join. With Jazz-Pelicans and then Lakers-Clippers tipping off here at Disney World, literally thousands of people at the NBA and Disney will see months of work start to come to fruition.But many of those people are outside the bubble, too, living life remotely as we all have learned to do. They’re making logistical decisions, trying to help support those inside and keep everything going. They’re the people who help supply the bubble with testing, with food, with various technical equipment. They’re the ones who help create schedules and determine who comes and goes. They’re on Zoom calls, and sharing stories of what’s happening in here.All of those people are still out there, living in a pandemic that so far has claimed more than 151,000 American lives, according to the New York Times. And nothing will remind those in the arenas tonight of everyone outside the bubble, living at risk, more than a building with no fans — the people who help bring life and energy to the game, who have infused it with their money, their passion and their loyalty.“It won’t have that feeling,” LeBron James said. “Because our fans just give us so much energy, our fans give us so much support and we want to try to give that back to them on the floor. But also at the same time we know our fans back in L.A. and all over California, all over the world, want us to, are looking forward to seeing us play again. It’s still our job to go out and perform because they’re still supporting us behind their phones or tablets or TVs, laptops or whatever the case may be.” Editor’s note: This is the Thursday July 30 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter from reporter Kyle Goon, who is among the few reporters with a credential inside the NBA bubble. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — There was a telling moment on Wednesday, the eve of the NBA’s return, that Danny Green stumbled for a moment.The Laker veteran said that without fans, the NBA might find itself without distractions. This, of course, was Green making the best of a strange situation.“We always look at the glass half full and be positive,” he said. “There are no distractions here, we’re able to lock in and just play basketball. Not worry about, think about anything else. Not have any outside distractions, whether it’s family issues or sicknesses or anything like that — even though a lot of people are going through that, and it sucks, but we’re praying for those people.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img