The only way this NBA concept of a “bubble” environment at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando can work is if those inside the bubble stay inside and those outside the bubble stay outside. Otherwise, it’s not much of a bubble.
The novel coronavirus that forced the season to shut down on March 11 and is still raging in many places, including Florida, has shown that it can travel easily, meaning that just one puncture of the bubble can deflate the whole thing. An infection that gets into the bubble and spreads enough would force the NBA to pull the plug on the season reboot.
So it was with great consternation that many saw the post of Instagram model Anna Mya, who wrote this week on Twitter that she already had been invited to the NBA’s bubble and that, yeah, there’s no way the league will keep the bubble protected all the way through to October.
NBA Twitter Searches to Identify Player Who Invited Mya
That led to an immediate search for the player who was looking to violate the league’s bubble policy as Twitter sleuths located the players who follow Mya, including former Laker and Warrior Nick Young and Wizards point guard John Wall. Neither, though, is in the bubble.
Mya seemed to have little inclination that others might catch onto her tweet and circulate it. But it got 8,600 retweets and nearly 50,000 likes.
Mya also pointed out that just because she was invited to the bubble does not mean she—or the player who gave her the welcome—would be breaking the rules. Indeed, once the first round of the playoffs is over next month, players and NBA staff can welcome friends and family members willing to go through quarantine.
“People calling me a snitch like it’s not known that they can have visitors in like 5 weeks,” she wrote. “Well technically I didn’t know either until I got the invite.”
NBA Vigilant on Protecting the ‘Bubble’
The NBA has been fastidious in its attempts to protect the bubble. Already this week, two players were forced into further quarantine for having violated the bubble rules.
One was Kings center Richaun Holmes, who apparently took the complaints about the quality of the food in the bubble to heart and attempted to have a meal delivered. He had been under the impression that he would be able to do so as long as no one else touched the food.
Not so. As Holmes wrote in a statement:
After the initial quarantine period, I briefly and accidentally crossed the NBA campus line to pick up a food delivery. I am currently in quarantine and have 8 days left. I apologize for my actions and look forward to rejoining my teammates for our playoff push.
Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo also will require eight additional days in isolation after he left his room during his initial 48-hour quarantine period.
The NBA, too, has set up a hotline that players can use to report violations of bubble protocol. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the hotline has been active.
Of course, the hotline is not required if the person you’ve invited to violate the bubble posts it on social media. Players would be well-advised to remember that.