NBA cracks down on 'casual' acquaintances in bubble
The NBA has put restrictions on who players can have visit them in the Disney World bubble, ruling out “casual” relationships and other “acquaintances”.
NBA players can have some family members or close friends inside the season-restart bubble with them by the end of the month.
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The league detailed the policies for guest arrivals to teams on Wednesday in a memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
The opportunity to bring guests into the bubble at Disney World will be only for teams advancing to the second round of the playoffs, and the earliest any guest could satisfy quarantine rules and be reunited with a player is August 31.
In most cases, players would be limited to four guests. The league told teams that any guests would have to be either family members, “longtime close personal friends with whom a player has an established, pre-existing, and known personal relationship,” private security staff and established family childcare providers.
Those who won’t be allowed into the bubble include “trainers, physical or massage therapists, personal chefs, hair/apparel stylists, tattoo artists, and current/prospective business partners, and certified agents (other than family members), among others,” the memo said.
Also not allowed, according to the league are “casual” acquaintances, friends by association, anyone the player has not previously met in person or is “known by the player only through social media or an intermediary.”
Last month, Instagram model Anna Mya claimed to have received an invite from a player into the NBA bubble, sparking a social media frenzy.
“I already got invited to the bubble,” Mya tweeted. “Yea the season definitely ending early.”
After a flurry of replies, Mya clarified that she’d been invited to join the player once visitors were allowed.
“People calling me a snitch like it’s not known that they can have visitors in like 5 weeks,” she tweeted.
“Wow y’all are gonna get me uninvited now. Y’all keep saying I’m going to fumble the bag. Me & him are laughing at this sh*t right now.”
However the league’s new memo would rule out the sort of invitations Mya was referring to.
NBA players struggling without families
Players have made no secret about how difficult it is to be away from their families and close friends inside the bubble.
Some players have needed to leave the bubble for family emergencies, while others such as Boston's Gordon Hayward have said they will leave for the pending birth of children. Hayward and his wife are expecting their fourth child next month.
“I miss the hell out of my family,” LeBron James said last week. “My wife, my kids, my mother, and so on, and so on. So, it's a huge challenge.”
The Phoenix Suns have had friends and family at games - in the form of a pregame video that introduces starters before the games that are classified as Suns' home contests.
The video was trending Tuesday when the Suns released a copy on their social media channels, and many NBA players such as James and Toronto's Kyle Lowry raved about the gesture.
“We say family a lot,” Suns coach Monty Williams. “It was a surprise to all of us the first time we saw it, to see your families organise that kind of intro. It's unique.”
Exceptions to the four-person limit could apply in cases where the player has up to four of his minor children coming to the bubble.
But in all cases, the same policies for others in the bubble - such as adhering to strict standards before traveling to the Orlando area, then quarantining before being allowed to enter the campus, plus submitting to daily testing and mandatory wearing of face coverings - would apply to guests as well.
Guests would also have to remain in the bubble, meaning the adjacent Disney World theme parks would be off-limits. The league said programming and entertainment for kids would be available, such as games, swimming pools and bicycles.
with Associated Press