Los Angeles is home to two teams from the American NBA basketball league, the Lakers and the Clippers. Both were among the big favorites for the championship before the season. This did not change before the planned restart of the NBA on July 30th. The league had stopped playing in mid-March when some players tested positive for the corona virus.
Among other things, the traditional duel between Lakers and Clippers should end the mandatory break this evening (local time). The game would normally be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Little is normal in the NBA at the moment. Because to end the season and to ensure the safety of everyone involved as much as possible, a sealed-off hideaway has been created on the grounds of the Walt Disney World Resort amusement park in Orlando.
The master is to be determined in this “bubble” by the beginning of October. The games take place exclusively in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Without spectators, of course. 22 teams are there. For the other teams, who no longer had a chance to qualify for the playoffs, the season is over. The remaining teams will play eight games each before 16 of them continue in the playoffs. In addition to the two teams from Los Angeles with their superstars LeBron James (Lakers) and Kawhi Leonard (Clippers), the big favorites include the Milwaukee Bucks for Giannis Antetokounmpo, the most valuable player (MVP) last year.
The NBA has developed a comprehensive hygiene concept for the mammoth program. The players and the other team members are practically isolated from the outside world in their hotel rooms and are also regularly tested for the virus. Nevertheless, there is a problem: The city of Orlando is located in the US state of Florida, one of the corona hotspots in the USA. According to the New York Times the average number of infections there is currently over 10,000 cases per day. Since the pandemic began, nearly 6,000 people in Florida have died from the virus.
“As the numbers skyrocket, Florida is the worst place in the world. I don’t think we have a chance to end this season, «ex-player Charles Barkley said last week. The traditionally strong player union has nevertheless approved the plans of the NBA. The vast majority of players want to end the season. For some, however, the risk is too high. Finally, little is known about the long-term effects of the virus. Avery Bradley, a professional at the Los Angeles Lakers, announced at the end of June that they did not want to go into the “bubble”. Like the 29 year old to the TV station ESPN said he was unwilling to endanger his family’s health in the slightest. The NBA had already announced that refusing to participate would have no consequences for the players.
One person who really wants to be in Orlando is Russell Westbrook, Point Guard of the Houston Rockets and one of the best players in the NBA. The 31-year-old was tested positive for the corona virus in mid-July. He felt good and was in quarantine, he wrote at the time on the so-called social networks. As soon as this is over, Westbrook wants to join his team in Florida. In order to be able to enter the “bubble” at all, however, he has to prove two negative tests. After that, he is required to spend two more days in self-isolation in the hotel room before he can join the team after another negative test.
The NBA goes to great lengths to ensure the success of its project. As with many other major sports leagues, in addition to the competitive aspect, the money factor also plays a not insignificant role – after all, it is about fulfilling the applicable television contracts. Here, too, the moral question arises as to whether the financial situation of a league like the NBA justifies consuming so many corona tests. The devastating situation in the United States makes them particularly urgent.
He understood anyone who, given the current situation, refused to resume playing in the NBA, journalist Zachary Lowe said in his podcast “The Lowe Post” two weeks ago. Nevertheless, the league should be given the opportunity to implement its concept. However, he hopes that the NBA will break off if the situation inside or outside the “bubble” escalates.