For NBA fans, one of the worst days of the year was March 11. This was the day the NBA season came to an abrupt pause due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Well, until July, at least.
Since March, NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, alongside the National Basketball Players Association, had been planning the best and safest way to continue the season. Through the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, the NBA would be able to bring back basketball in July with the NBA “bubble.”
Twenty-two teams entered and were monitored closely when coming in and out of the bubble.
“Initially, I thought the bubble would work due to the guidelines the NBA set for the players to stay safe,” Hernan Moreno, a Maywood Center for Enriched Studies senior, said.
With no fans in attendance, daily COVID-19 testing and monitored entering and exiting, the NBA was set to restart in July.
Though about 350 players entered the Bubble ready to compete for a chance to make their playoff dreams come true, some players decided to sit out the NBA bubble for a variety of reasons. Some players didn’t want to put their families at risk, others had underlying health problems and other players simply didn’t want to risk their safety.
None of these were the case for Brooklyn’s star guard, Kyrie Irving. Irving’s reason for not returning to basketball had more of a political approach.
“Players like Kyrie Irving sat out NBA games because he thought the NBA wouldn’t do enough to impact the Black Lives Matter movement,” Kenneth Lara, a Maywood Center for Enriched Studies senior, said.
The NBA vowed to make an impact on the Black Lives Matter movement through commercials and merchandise. Some players thought this would only distract people from the cause and not effectively change anything.
Behind all the negativity around the NBA bubble, fans and teams overall benefitted from the restart.
“Teams that were bad before the bubble benefitted from the time away from the game, as it served as a momentum booster,” Lara said.
This was the case with the Phoenix Suns; they went from being a statistically bad team to going 8-0 in the NBA bubble seeding games.
“Overall as an NBA fan, I’ve enjoyed all the bubble games so far. They’ve been more exciting and close games,” Maywood Center for Enriched Studies sophomore Andres Angulo said.
Games like game four of the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks series serves as an example of these close games. In this game Mavericks’ guard, Luka Doncic, scored a half-court buzzer-beater with three seconds of double overtime to win the game.
With the bubble coming to a close, only two teams are left competing for the NBA Championship. For the past week, the Miami Heat have been competing against the Los Angeles Lakers for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. The Lakers are up 3-1 games hoping to bring home their 17th championship unless the Heat bring an upset victory.
Check out nba.com for game scheduling and news on the NBA Finals.