The longest NBA season ever

In a year unlike any other, there was a season not like any other; on March 11, the NBA suspend its season due to the start of the COVID -19 pandemic. It would be months before players and owners started to learn the pandemic’s severity and learn how to live with it.

Photo from NBA Twitter

It took the NBA and their players almost four months to come up with a plan o restart and finish the 2019-2020 NBA season. The plan—agreed upon between the NBA and their players —was to form a COVID free bubble at Walt Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla.

On June 26, the NBA announced that it had finalized plans to restart the 2019-2020 NBA season with 22 teams at Walt Disney World. For the bubble to be COVID free, the NBA had to establish new rules and regulations for the bubble. 

Players started arriving at Disney on July 7-9, but before this, every player, coach, and staff member had to pass a series of negative COVID-19 tests before they could even board the plane to Disney.  Upon arriving at the NBA bubble, every player, coach, and staff member was tested and told to self-isolate in their rooms for up 48 hours until they returned two negative COVID-19 tests. Moving forward, testing was happening regularly, and all players, coaches, and staff members inside the bubble had to fill out a daily symptom tracker and had to wear Oura smart rings or other wearable devices that measure skin temperature, heart rate, and log their movements. 

Upon agreeing to terms, Disney was faced with the daunting task of making the bubble a reality. Disney had the challenge of making sure all 22 teams that were going to be in the bubble had the necessary needs to succeed, such as hotels to stay in, meals eat, entertainment, and all other basic needs. Along with not allowing anyone in or out of the bubble,  Disney decided to come up with two bubbles, the inner bubble and outer bubble; the inner bubble was where the teams would be staying, and the outer bubble was where food was made, and the works remained that where helping in the bubble.

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The biggest challenge in the bubble was how they would feed all 22 teams and the NBA’s support personnel. The NBA invited ten chefs to live and work inside the bubble under strict quarantine rules. The chefs whip up about 4,000 meals a week; teams or players can place orders on a specially dedicated website.

As the NBA playoffs began in early August, the NBA announced that they would allow players, coaches, and staff members to have family members and guests to come to the bubble. The family members and guests were held to the same strict standards and rule Family members and guests were held to the same strict standards and rules as the team.

The NBA season began on October 22, 2019, and almost a whole year later, on October 11, 2020, the Los Angeles Lakers were crowned NBA champions.