The NBA’s Disney Rules Are Even Crazier Than You Think
When the National Basketball Association chose to complete its season at Walt Disney World, everyone knew the situation would be strange.
The NBA will employ a bubble concept, which will require its players to isolate themselves from the rest of the world.
What will this process look like? Well, the league recently published a 113-page protocol guide. And it’s pretty insane.
Here are several ways that the NBA’s Disney rules are even crazier than you think.
The First Rule: No Escape
For many years now, people have referenced the Disney Bubble.
This idea references the idyllic nature of Walt Disney World.
Once you arrive on the campus here, you can leave your real-world problems behind and relish the joys of the Most Magical Place on Earth.
NBA teams will take the premise quite literally.
The 22 participants in the league’s completion won’t get to leave their bubble campus.
League officials are working with Disney executives to create an entirely isolated environment.
The purpose here is to reduce the odds of Coronavirus infections for NBA players and staff members.
The NBA must take this seriously since Rudy Gobert regrettably triggered an entire league shut down by infecting other players, including a teammate.
If one NBA player or other employee catches the disease, this individual is likely to spread it to one other person.
Then, that person will spread it to another individual…and so forth.
So, these rules exist to give the NBA the best possible chance of finishing the regular season and playoffs without another viral outbreak.
And the most important rule of all is that players avoid everyone else at Walt Disney World.
The Second Rule: Well, The Thing About That Is…
When the league pitched players on the protocols for a completed season, the athletes expressed concerns.
The format calls for all 22 teams to remain in isolation for six weeks. That’s long enough to finish the regular season and one round of the NBA Playoffs.
Despite their marvelous physical gifts and genius-level intellects, NBA players are just like the rest of us. They don’t want to sit alone in a room for six straight weeks.
Also, the Disney Bubble plan calls for an even higher level of sacrifice. Until the second round of the playoffs, players can’t bring family members with them.
That’s actually in the rules. Athletes must leave their families behind to finish the season.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t leave my partner for six weeks unless I had no other choice.
Well, NBA players DO have a choice. They’re highly paid athletes who can afford to sit out for the rest of the season.
To entice the players to come to Orlando, the NBA has relaxed some of its rules while enforcing others that are just…weird. To wit…
No Park Visits!
The NBA’s policies manual states that players won’t get to visit the theme parks during the season, and that apparently includes the playoffs.
Well, some players bristled at this. So, some reports indicate that the NBA has softened its stance here.
Yes, the handbook still states that going to the parks is a no-no. However, Disney may host some special after-hours events exclusively for the teams.
In fact, some NBA insiders have suggested that the league will relax its rules after the first round.
Once this round ends, only eight teams will remain. At that point, some family members will gain access to the Disney Bubble, reuniting families.
When that happens, these top-tier teams may enjoy more freedom. It’s a situation where the official manual doesn’t line up with player desire. Speaking of which…
Strange Housing Tiers
The players will stay in three different Disney resorts. The best teams will stay in a Moderate Tier hotel, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
The rest of the teams will stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa or Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.
Sources: NBA teams Disney hotels based on seeding:
-Grand Destino: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
-Grand Floridian: Thunder, 76ers, Rockets, Pacers, Mavericks, Nets, Grizzlies, Magic
-Yacht Club: Blazers, Kings, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns, Wizards
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2020
There’s a method to the league’s madness here. The convention center at Coronado Springs will function as a base for many league activities.
So, the players staying at this resort will have more convenient logistics. The athletes at other properties must travel more.
In fact, league insiders view the Coronado Springs location as such a competitive advantage that teams at other resorts may switch to it if they advance in the playoffs.
Isn’t it weird to imagine players hoping to leave the Grand Floridian and Yacht Club for Coronado Springs?
Magic Bands for Everyone
The NBA isn’t asking players to wear Magic Bands; it’s requiring them to do so.
Magic Bands will allow players to unlock hotel rooms, access players-only areas, and pay for goods and services.
Meanwhile, league officials can tell where players are. So, if anyone tries to leave the bubble, the Magic Band will give them away.
Oddly, Magic Bands aren’t the only wearables on the docket. Players also have the opportunity to wear a ring or sensor.
The ring will identify a player’s heart rate, temperature, and other health matters.
This device will theoretically warn players when they’re at higher risk of COVID-19.
Hmm, where can we get our hands on these alarms? 🙅♂️🙅♀️😂
Go inside the NBA Bubble, with details from the NBPA memo obtained by @ShamsCharania ⤵️
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) June 16, 2020
The sensor has a different purpose. It will signal players when they’ve violated social distancing for more than an instant.
If someone stands too close to an athlete, the sensor will indicate that the player should move.
I’m skeptical about how many players will want this device. Still, it’s an interesting idea. I kind of wish I had one for myself right now.
Obviously, nobody must wear a mask while playing. However, other rules apply to players, and they’re…unusual.
NBA benches will include rows of two now. The players in the main game day rotation will sit on the front row and won’t need to wear masks.
Presumably, the head coach and possibly one or two other assistant coaches will sit on this row. The NBA asks but doesn’t require the coaches to wear masks.
The second row is for the players who aren’t sure to play. You know them as the ones wearing suits on gameday.
These players are good enough to be in the NBA, but they’re not among the best eight players on the team. They must sit in the second row.
People in this row MUST wear face masks, and that will lead to some hilarious encounters.
You see, NBA referees aren’t required to wear masks during games. Otherwise, they might pass out.
Well, bench players in the NBA have a secondary gig. They harass referees into making advantageous calls for their team.
During the pandemic, bench players will have to weigh this decision carefully.
An unmasked referee may come over to the bench and exchange words with the masked players on the bench.
In that scenario, the ref is safe, but the players… You get the idea.
There’s now a built-in fear/punishment for heckling NBA refs during games. That’s gonna be fun to track.
Table Tennis Is Okay, But…
Hobbies will play a significant factor during the self-quarantining phase. Players won’t do anything until they’ve passed two different COVID-19 tests.
Obviously, they’ll pass the time by embracing some hobbies. And anyone who has ever been in a sports locker room knows that Table Tennis matters.
The person who rules the Ping-Pong table rules the locker room. Some people even wear crowns so that they can lord their supremacy over teammates.
The NBA has ensured that all its players will have access to Table Tennis. However, there’s a catch.
Players cannot compete in tag team Table Tennis right now. The health guide clearly states that doubles Ping-Pong would violate social distancing.
And Cards Okay, But…
I realize that the Table Tennis rules have some justification. This next one is pretty wild, though.
The game rooms will include sitting areas for NBA stars to play poker or rummy or whatever card game they like.
Walt Disney World playing cards. $13 pic.twitter.com/BaOumwwGGO
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) June 20, 2020
That’s probably for the best since players take these games seriously.
One of the most infamous NBA locker room incidents involved two players pulling guns on one another over an unsettled card game dispute.
Since players love cards this much, nobody could ever persuade them not to play.
Finished painting my Disney playing cards! pic.twitter.com/76EQ0uBb9B
— Nevada🌸Noel (@nevada_noel) June 3, 2020
However, the NBA has introduced an odd wrinkle. Nobody in the Disney Bubble can shuffle the deck.
The guide emphasizes that players should utilize an entirely new deck of cards for each hand.
I love the illustrations on these old Disney playing cards so much, they might just be cells from the movies but they looks great pic.twitter.com/3LSF08qXNH
— ACABmeatstarBLM (@KeyboardKirby) May 25, 2020
The science here is that playing cards are high-touch areas.
If multiple players shuffle the same deck, they could pass around dangerous droplets, thereby increasing the odds of infection.
In a few months, eBay may experience a surge in once-used card decks previously used by NBA athletes. This will be the reason why.
Here’s one that will blow your mind. The NBA will set up a violations hotline.
Players will have the opportunity to narc on anyone that they believe has broken any of the rules in the 113-page handbook.
The NBA will set up an anonymous tip line to report violations of health & safety protocols in the bubble. That’s important, but I can see the downside, too.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 17, 2020
Personally, I think this hotline provides plenty of opportunities for pranks.
Do you want to avoid playing against Russell Westbrook? Call the hotline and swear you saw him shuffling a deck of cards!
Are you worried about the Anthony Davis/LeBron James dynamic duo? Call that number and alert the authorities that they played tag team Table Tennis!
Most importantly, if you don’t like what a television analyst or sports reporter says about you, steal all their face masks and then report them!
Yes, I’m being silly, but the idea of a narc system is patently absurd.
The NBA season has already been the strangest one ever, and it’s just gonna get weirder from here.
Feature Image Rights: ESPNWWOS.com