Stephen A. Smith has questioned how NBA players are going to survive in a quarantine bubble for three months without being able to have sex.
The NBA will attempt to restart their suspended season on July 30, with 22 teams playing games without spectators in Orlando under quarantine.
The league shut down the 2019-20 season on March 11 after Utah's Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 with five weeks remaining in the regular season.
But the league is now ready to restart the season, placing players within an isolated ‘bubble’ on the Disney World campus, with plentiful testing and contact tracing helping contain any positive tests.
Players won’t be able to come into contact with their families for the first month, leaving outspoken analyst Smith very sceptical about how they will contain their ‘urges’.
“Do we really think the ‘recreational activities’ that these guys are accustomed to are going to be compromised for three months?” Smith asked on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ on Tuesday.
“I mean, somebody’s gotta say it.
“You really, really think somebody’s gonna be without their wives or their woman? The guys that are married without their wives, the guys that ain’t married without their woman.
“You really, really think they’re honouring a bubble for three months?”
When it was pointed out that the players can see their families after the first month, Smith said they “wouldn’t last three weeks let alone three months.”
Players are allowed to leave the Disney World campus but would be forced to quarantine afterwards, making that scenario very unlikely.
NBA boss hopes bubble limits financial damage
NBA commissioner Adam Silver says there are no risk-free options to finishing the season in a coronavirus pandemic but the league's bubble plan is the safest, most responsible way.
“If cases are isolated, that's one thing,” Silver said on Tuesday. “But if we had a lot of cases, we're going to stop.
“We are left with no choice but to learn to live with this virus. No options are risk-free right now.”
NBA team owners and players hope to limit the financial damage of playing without spectators in seclusion by televising eight seeding games per team in the bubble plus a normal two-month playoff run.
NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh previously reported the league would stand to lose about US$500 million in ticket sales alone if the season didn’t restart.
The league had already copped an estimated $400 million hit in lost revenue from China when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for protesters in Hong Kong last year, creating a rift between the nation and the NBA.
“We're looking to find the right balance between health and safety on one hand and economic necessity on the other,” Silver said.
“And what we think is we've found what makes sense for the NBA and that is a safe and responsible way to play.
“Our best understanding of this virus is that it's not going away anytime soon so we feel we have to find a way to move forward and this is our way.”
The NBA Finals would finish in mid-October, just under a year from when the regular season tipped off.
“It will be the longest season in history, maybe for any league,” said Silver.