If those imagineers at Walt Disney World decided to create a new attraction inspired by the NBA Bubble, I would make sure for my next visit to add that attraction to my FastPass+ wristband.
From awkward pool parties to shotgunning beers in kiddie pools to being quarantined for crossing a magical line to pick up food, the NBA Bubble has lived up to all the intrigue one could hope for since the league first announced its plans to host games at Walt Disney World, an effort to salvage its season that was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
You knew it was going to be interesting when Philadelphia center Joel Embid was seen boarding a plane wearing a giant white tyvek suit, mask and gloves. The big fella looked like he was filming a sequel to “Outbreak.”
There was then the report of a pool party that Dwight Howard attended after he passed quarantine. There was a pool, a DJ and Dwight and no one else. Whether others hadn’t cleared quarantine or no one wanted to hang out with Dwight remains a mystery.
You had Sacramento center Rich Holmes, who crossed the Disney campus line to pick up delivery food. This harmless move got him a one-way pass to a 10-day quarantine and also saw his own mother — Dr. Lydecia Holmes — poke fun at him on Twitter by posting, “You only cross the line for your MOMA’s COOKING! AND I WAS NOT IN FLORIDA SIR!! #lol @Rich_Holmes22. Love you baby1.”
The players tried their best to make the resorts their own home.
New Orleans guard Josh Hart had a wine fridge delivered to his room while Sacramento’s Kent Bazemore brought a travel skillet and a vat of pancake batter for his room. Bazemore must love having that pancake smell in his bedspread. Let’s hope he turned them over in time.
The best in-room improvement goes to Houston’s P.J. Tucker who installed — on his own — a brand new 85-inch television. I am pretty sure that is going to be a hefty incidental charge on his room bill.
After not being able to practice for nearly fourth months, and then having to be processed through quarantine, many players took advantage of the tremendous sunshine of Florida.
Boston’s Tacko Fall — and all 7-foot-5 of him mind you — rode a bicycle around the resort, Laker teammates Javell McGee and Kyle Kuzma filmed themselves going down water slides, while New Orleans shooting guard J.J. Reddick took time out after one practice to shotgun beer in a kiddie pool for some sort of social media challenge.
The most in-demand activity though was fishing in the lakes and ponds across the resort hotels. The absolute best fishing moment came courtesy of former LSU star Ben Simmons, who proudly held up a fish he caught before things went sideways for the former Tiger.
Despite standing literally a few inches away from the water’s edge, Simmons failed to throw the fish back into the water. Apparently his catch-and-release technique needs as much work as his three-point shooting.
What if the NBA Bubble handed out an Most Valuable Player award? Who would take home that prize? In a runaway victory it would have to be Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams.
The NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year and the team’s third-leading scorer reportedly brought his own recording studio to the bubble. Why not work on your latest mix tape while your waiting to play is what I always say?
No, that’s not why Williams’ clinches the prestigious NBA Bubble MVP.
The 33-year-old is serving a 10-day quarantine for violating the bubble policy. Williams was granted an excuse to leave Disney World to attend a visitation of his friend’s father — who Williams was close to. After the services, Williams opted to grab himself some delicious dinner — in particular chicken wings — from the legendary Atlanta gentlemen’s club Magic City.
Williams didn’t even get caught by someone calling the “snitch hotline.”
It only came to light after a photo of Williams (who was wearing the mask the league gave him in Orlando) posing with a rapper at Magic City was posted to social media — of course (it was quickly deleted but not soon enough).
If Williams had not gone to the club, his quarantine would have lasted only four days instead of 10 which means he will miss his team’s first two games of the rebooted system.
To be fair to Williams, he has publicly stated in the past that his favorite food is in fact the chicken wings at Magic City. So I am sure he was there for just the wings and not for say the thighs.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2020 NBA Bubble MVP, Lou Williams.
Of course all of this irreverent mischief and mild-mannered shenanigans has now come to an end. The actual season began again Thursday night with teams like the Pelicans fighting for playoffs positioning.
For some of the teams (sorry, not you, Kings), there is a legit chance of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in a few months.
So that means that the real games have begun which means the odd party of the NBA Bubble is now over — but what a ride it was.
Raymond Partsch III is a longtime sportswriter and radio broadcaster.