Let’s be honest. Stephen A. Smith is right: “Somebody’s gotta say it.”
The idea of NBA players spending up to three months at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., is absurd on multiple levels as the league attempts to restart its 2019-20 season and eventually crown a champion amid the COVIC-19 pandemic. Not the least of which is the fact that some players won’t be able to physically be around anybody other than teammates and team personnel for four weeks.
“Physically” is a key word considering NBA players are living, breathing human beings who will be apart from the significant others with whom they typically engage in “recreational activities.” And by that we mean sex.
“Do we really think the recreational activities, what these guys are accustomed to, are going to be compromised for three months?” Smith asked on Tuesday’s edition of “First Take” on ESPN. “You really think that people are going to be without their wives or their woman? … You really think they’re honoring a bubble for three months?”
Smith later clarified that even a four-week period without access to these so-called “recreational activities” will be difficult for players to manage.
Stephen A Smith on NBA players breaking the Disney Bubble because they’re going to be sexually frustrated and need to go out for “recreational activities”… pic.twitter.com/trgMrAUeAl
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) June 30, 2020
When 22 teams report to Orlando for the resumption of the season July 30, only 37 people (up to 17 players and support staff) are allowed per team. The teams will be allowed to add staff members if they advance in the playoffs, which begin Aug. 17.
Player guests will not be allowed to enter the NBA bubble until after the first round of the playoffs. At that point, each of the eight remaining teams will be allowed to reserve up to 17 hotel rooms — one per player on the team — for player guests at the Disney campus in Orlando.
From ESPN: “To be allowed onto campus, guests will have to self-quarantine for a week, then quarantine and be tested at least every other day for three days in either the home market or outside of the NBA’s campus in Orlando. Anyone who tests positive during this period won’t be allowed to enter the NBA campus.
“Upon entry into the bubble, guests will have to quarantine and be tested every day for four days. Anyone who tests positive during this period must self-isolate in league-designated accommodations on the campus.”
The three resorts on the Disney campus that will host NBA teams (and eventually some player guests) are the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs, the Grand Floridian and the Yacht Club.
The latest possible date for a Game 7 of the NBA Finals will be Oct. 13. “Seeding games” will be played through Aug. 14, and a play-in tournament will be held Aug. 15-16 if necessary with the first round of the playoffs starting Aug. 17. The NBA Finals will begin Sept. 30.
Multiple NBA players have said they will not travel with their teams to Orlando for the resumption of the season, many of whom citing health risks as the reason.
No player opting out has explicitly stated he would prefer to have sex freely, but based on Smith’s logic, that would be a plus.