No NBA players in Orlando have tested positive for the coronavirus
NBA players and coaches have espoused a type of blind faith in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the document governing the league’s attempted reboot amid a global pandemic. And Monday, that faith was rewarded with something concrete.
Since July 13, the NBA has tested 346 players inside its Orlando bubble, and none have shown evidence of the coronavirus, the league announced in coordination with the NBPA, the union that represents the league’s players.
It’s unknown whether or how many other people inside the league’s campus — a group that includes coaches, training staff, team personnel, league staff and media — have tested positive.
Still, Monday’s test results are an unquestioned win for the league in its ongoing fight to keep its operation going until the season’s scheduled conclusion in mid-October.
Lou Williams of the Clippers was hesitant to return to basketball amid a national push for social justice, but he’s doing his part to raise awareness of the struggle.
“Everything has gone the way it’s supposed to have gone since we’ve been here,” Lakers star LeBron James said Monday before the league announced the latest round of results. “And it’s given me no indication that it won’t continue.”
Early indications have been that most people on the NBA campus at Disney World resorts in Orlando, Fla., have been on board with the rules established in the 100-plus-page health and safety protocols. As they spoke with media via videoconference on Monday, Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant, veteran Anthony Tolliver and coach Taylor Jenkins all wore facial coverings.
But this weekend, not long after being admonished for not wearing a mask, Lakers center Dwight Howard posted a video of himself alone inside a laundry room without a mask on — another violation of league rules.
“During indoor activities, individuals must wear a facemask or face covering at all times,” the rules state.
Howard, who was by himself in the laundry room, held masks in his hand, joking that he would sell his NBA masks on the internet because he has so many.
“They try to make a big deal about what I said about wearing a mask,” Howard said on an Instagram video he posted. “I get it. Common sense is not common. But I understand why certain people say certain things.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke out against the ‘national anthem police’ and ended up in a heated Twitter exchange with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
“… We are by ourselves. We’re literally in the bubble. They sanitize everything. We get tested. … We’re only around each other.”
Disney workers inside the NBA bubble are not living on campus with players and staff (though interactions with players are severely limited). Orlando, like much of the state, remains a hot spot for the virus.
Even if Howard’s opinions are shared, they’re not being vocalized. Most players, since agreeing to come back to play, have expressed faith in the rules put in place, which emphasize mask-wearing and social distancing.
“I don’t think anybody would be here if they didn’t have confidence in the league being able to contain this virus in this bubble. Me, for sure, if I had fears or anything about catching the virus while being here, I wouldn’t come,” Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton said. “Being in meetings, having calls with the league, the [NBPA] and whatnot, they gave us the confidence to be here.”
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