Updates about Snitching and Food inside the NBA Bubble at Walt Disney World

My goal is not for this site to become a day-to-day tracker of what’s going on with the NBA at Disney World (you can follow the NBA Bubble Life twitter account for that). Still, the topic is at such an intersection of my different interests that I end up running into different stories in all of my news sources.

Today’s find is this column from Jay Busbee about the NBA’s “Snitch Line.”. Yes, there is a phone number that players can use to rat out other players who have broken the safety protocols. Yahoo reports that the line has already received multiple calls. In a (slightly ridiculous) hypothetical, Busbee points out how the line could be abused as we move toward to the playoffs:

What happens if, say, the night before Team X plays Team Y in a deciding Game 7, the tip line gets a call reporting that Team X’s star player was seen drinking out of everyone’s beer mug at a Kissimmee Applebee’s? Or that Team Y’s star was spotted, shall we say, entertaining some visitors who did not clear quarantine? How will the NBA ferret out real calls from false ones? So far, the league has only handed out warnings. But how many warnings does it take to earn a fine? How many fines does it take to earn a suspension?

Joe Vardon from The Athletic also provided an update on the food situation in an article entitled Food scandal was overblown, though not all made up. The article starts with some quotes about how players prepared for their quarantine:

The Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, seeing the carnage on his phone from colleagues who’d reached the Bubble before his team, bought a panini machine for the trip. “I just wanted to eat comfortably here,” he said. The Thunder’s Steve Adams said his wife baked a couple batches of lasagna for him to take “because I’d seen a photo of the food they were giving us online.”

But goes on to explain that part of the reason for the poor food photos is the method of the food’s delivery and subsequent presentation:

The Disney service workers delivering the food do not operate under some of the same protections, so the food being served must be carried in packaging that ensures sterility. That means tightly sealed plastic and wrapping, plastic cutlery, and packaged fruit. Entrees must come in cartons. The workers, wearing not only masks and gloves, but plastic shields over their masks, can deliver the food in paper bags, with thin handles pinched together, carrying the bags between two fingers with those handles. They stop at your door, drop the food on the ground, knock once or twice on the door, and then walk away.

This type of procedure does not exactly lead to the artistic plating of entrees.

Vardon also points out that the players can order full-on room service or delivery from other local restaurants, as long as they do not walk too far to get it.

At least all of this down time is giving the players a chance to learn how to fish:

Also, I am sure the food situation will improve once this initial quarantine is over and the players can sit out and enjoy a drink at Three Bridges.

A Brief Look into the NBA Bubble at Disney World

Joe Vardon has written an article about his first 24 hours in the Disney World bubble. Vardon is staying Coronado Springs and will be stuck in his hotel room for 7 days as part of the NBA’s “bubble protocols.” The rest of the process goes like this:

Just before 10 o’clock Sunday night, two gentlemen knocked on my door from BioReference Labs. They are the only people besides me who are allowed in my room. And so long as the cotton swab they gently shove into my nose and the one they brush along the inner walls of my throat do not return any COVID-19 all week, I’ll be allowed out of the room with limited access to “the bubble.”

The article includes pictures of Vardon’s special “NBA” Magic Band, and his first night of dinner. It also includes this reminder of the length of time he’ll be there:

My tour is expected to last through the end of the first round of the NBA playoffs, into September, when I’m to be relieved by a colleague. I won’t be whining about the food, and the room is fine. The only complaint I have about the living conditions is I unpacked all three of my suitcases for a two-month stay upon moving in on Sunday, only to learn hours later that the league will move us all to different rooms when our week-long quarantines are over.

and some of the strange requirements related to performing his job as a reporter:

There is nothing normal about this assignment, either. Before arriving to the bubble, the reporters (I don’t know exactly how many of us there are, more than 10 but fewer than 20) had to sign something that says we “will not approach or attempt to interact with … NBA players, coaches, other team personnel and/or NBA referees,” except when the league says we can. This (other than bothering refs, we don’t really do that) runs against everything we do as basketball reporters.

Good luck, Joe. I’m going to enjoy following along.

UPDATE: ESPN also has an article with player and coach quotes. My favorite comes from Luke Walton:

“The strangest thing I brought that I’m very happy I brought now is, I dedicated a whole carry-on bag to my coffee. Which is like seven pounds of coffee beans, my coffee grinder, I got a French press in my room, because I knew we were going to be quarantined so I couldn’t trust whatever was going to be in my room.”
Gran Destino Tower at Disney World