Quijano: Living in a bubble

Jingo Quijano

IT SEEMS the planned return of the NBA in late July might not be so seamless after all.

Reportedly there are some 40-50 players who have expressed reservations about returning to play under the proposed circumstances among other considerations.

SCENARIO. For those unaware, the NBA plans to resume the season inside one fixed venue which will be the Walt Disney World in Florida, specifically, the ESPN Wide World of Sports, a 220-acre complex with complete sports amenities located on the southern edge of the resort.

Teams, including players and staff, will be billeted at the hotels inside the complex. All testing protocols will have to be observed and of course, there will still be no fans in attendance.

Twenty-two teams will return, which include the 16 teams currently qualified to join the playoffs plus an additional six teams that will play for the 8th seed.

That also means there will be no family or friends, and players will essentially be locked up—like living in a bubble.

CONCERNS. One of those who have been quoted publicly expressing his concerns was Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trailblazers.

Another bombshell of a surprise came from former NBA star Harrison Barnes, who shared that there were some players from the Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers who were of the same inclination.

He declined to give names, but clarified that it had something to do with the social and political unrest going on in the United States.

Obviously, the teams with the most to gain are those who have realistic chances to win an NBA title, and those include the Clippers and the Lakers.

The fact that some of these players are willing to forgo a chance to win a lifelong dream says a lot about their current mindsets.

And just yesterday, it was revealed that New Jersey Nets star Kyrie Irving was one of the voices who felt it was inappropriate to be playing basketball amid volatile racial tensions.

REASONS. For some, it could be a combination of both—the lack of motivation to play under a such a restricted format plus the uncertainty if this is an appropriate time to be playing basketball.

Whatever the case I can’t blame these players, especially those coming from teams who have no realistic chances of even getting into the Finals.

It would seem like they are being used as necessary props in order for the NBA to move forward and complete the season.

To do that, they would have to endure living under sequestration for a few months (including practices) where the living conditions might not be quite idyllic—not to mention dealing with the ever present danger of being infected with hundreds of people holed up inside one complex.

All for allowing the favored teams to get their wins in and officially move on to the next round.

You have to consider that NBA players are some of the highest paid athletes on the planet. These guys are not just millionaires, but multi-millionaires.

Some of them might feel they can just forgo the paychecks for the few remaining games AND feel better about themselves not playing basketball inappropriately at this time.

VERBATIM. “As far as actually playing and going back down into Orlando, I’m still up in the air a little bit because I really don’t, we don’t have all the details. We don’t know a lot of information so until we have that, it’s hard to just commit to that 100 percent.” —Carmelo Anthony (live interview on #NBATogether stream)

LAST ROUNDS. Are on Hon. Joel Garganera, Cebu City’s prolific councilor, and lovely wife Audrey, who recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Cheers!