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A View From Inside The NBA Bubble In Orlando

Disney Wide World of Sports (Photo by Todd Anderson/Disney Resorts via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – On the latest episode of the Jazz Notes Podcast, Ben Anderson caught up with Los Angeles Lakers beat writer Kyle Goon from inside Orlando’s NBA bubble. Goon formerly covered the Utah Jazz before joining the Orange County Register in Los Angeles to cover the Lakers. Having entered the bubble over the weekend, Goon shared his experiencing checking into his hotel, the daily testing requirements, social interaction in Orlando, and the Lakers championship hopes.

You can listen to the full podcast here.

Entering the Bubble

Goon entered the bubble on Sunday, but unlike NBA players who had been undergoing testing in their host cities before traveling to Orlando, is required to stay quarantined in his hotel room for the first week of his trip.

“We’ve done everything in our rooms,” Goon said of his first few days in Orlando. “We get meal deliveries to our rooms. We get tested in the doorways of our rooms. On Monday, we were sent medical equipment. And we report our temperature and our pulse oximeter numbers to the NBA through an app from our rooms. We are not allowed to leave these rooms at the Coronado Springs Resort until next Sunday, so it’s a week-long lockdown for members of the media, getting into the bubble.”

Media members entering the bubble had to pass through two levels of security before getting to their hotels. After a week of negative COVID-19 tests, the will allow media members to travel throughout the bubble.

Though the daily COVID-19 tests aren’t as invasive as traditional public testing, the procedure is still invasive.

“It’s a shallow nasal swab, but it doesn’t always feel shallow,” Goon said. “There’s still somebody poking something up your nose. And then on a separate swab, sweeping your tongue and back your throat.”

Life Inside the Bubble

Though Goon has yet to leave his hotel room, he shared his sense of how the NBA bubble will operate. Players and media will in close proximity, though extended social interaction is discouraged.

“If I run into Frank Vogel, the head coach of the Lakers, on the running path or near where we get meals I’ve been told I can exchange pleasantries but don’t stick around,” Goon said. “And if you see them from 100 yards away,  do not make a beeline towards someone like that.”

The NBA has designated opportunities for media to interact with the players after practice, though rules continue to adjust on the fly.

Despite the complexities, Goon said he was happy to get a chance to cover the historic event.

“This is not something you can say no,” Good said of the opportunity. “It’s such a unique story. Nobody really knows what’s going on in here. And every little detail Instagram story video that players post is parsed.  It’s just interesting to come to a place no one really knows. The whole intrigue is what is going on in here. And I’m really excited to learn more about that.”

Lakers Championship Hopes

Coinciding with Goon’s experience within the bubble, the Lakers are one of the three true contenders competing for an NBA title. Along with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks, the Lakers have a chance to add another championship to their resume.

However, the NBA’s return will look unlike any professional basketball the world has ever seen. Games will be played without fans in the stands, while notable players will be absent from competition. With that in mind, Goon sees one x-factor that could work in the Lakers favor.

“The thing I would take is experience and LeBron James has that,” Good said. “I mean, the guy went to eight straight finals.”

LeBron carried the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat to eight straight Eastern Conference titles, and three NBA championships. Now James hopes to bring another title to LA.

“It’s really hard to beat LeBron both in terms of what he can do physically, and just how the game unfolds the way he wants,” Goon said.

Despite the Lakers talent edge, Goon wants that even James has mentioned how the unknowns of the NBA bubble will impact the playoffs.

“LeBron has acknowledged himself that just because [he] got four months off, doesn’t mean [he’s] gonna have fresh legs like,” Good said. “There’s a rhythm element to this […] There’s a feeling that [James] gets in March that [he’s] ready for the playoffs and, and it’s all a process. But so no one really knows physically how any of this is gonna play out.”

You can read Goon’s coverage of the NBA season at ocregister.com, and find him on Twitter and Instagram at @KyleGoon.

Stay tuned for every episode of the Jazz notes podcast, and you can subscribe and rate the podcast here

 

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