The NBA bubble is officially active, as all 22 teams have arrived at Disney World to begin the journey back to resume the rest of the 2019-20 season. While teams have begun practicing, the best storylines out of the bubble so far have been about what the players are up to when they're not on the court. With mandatory quarantine over, everyone is now free to roam about the campus, and after just one week there's already been some entertaining content.
Some players have started personal vlogs to detail their experience, others have gotten creative to keep themselves busy, but so far it seems like most of the players are making the best of an unprecedented situation. Players have been extremely open in sharing what life is like at Disney World, taking to various forms of social media to share what they're up to. To keep it all straight, we'll be gathering the top moments happening inside the bubble each week. Now that the initial quarantine period is over for most of the players, here's what they've been up to so far.
1. Jimmy Butler is a noisy neighbor
When players arrived at Disney World, they were all required to quarantine in their hotel rooms for 48 hours, which meant no leaving the room for any circumstances. Some players took to social media to show off their new digs or snapped shots of the food they're eating, but not Butler. In perhaps the most on-brand thing for Butler to do, the Miami Heat forward was actually practicing during the mandatory quarantine.
That might seem impossible given that the rooms these guys are staying in aren't even half the size of an NBA court, however, Butler found a way. The All-Star was dribbling up and down his room for an extended period of time, which prompted a noise complaint from his neighbor. A security guard knocked on Butler's door and discovered he was dripping in sweat and was dressed in practice gear like he was about to warm up for a game. While that's not at all surprising, considering Butler's "no days off" attitude is well documented, you have to wonder who his neighbor was that sent in the complaint. My money is on Marcus Smart, given the previous scuffles these two have gotten into on the court.
2. JJ Redick and Meyers Leonard showing off their beer drinking skills
After Redick posted a photo of all the drinking fountains being out of use inside the bubble due to the pandemic, which led him to jokingly say he had no choice but to drink a beer, the Twitter account "NBA Bubble Life" challenged him to shotgun a beer. Redick accepted, and what we got was perhaps the most impressive version of chugging a beer possible.
Redick didn't just chug a beer. He did it right after practice while sitting in an (inflatable) ice bath, and then just leisurely tossed the can to the side. The degree of difficulty is unmatched. He wasn't the only one to get in on the beer chugging, though. After Redick's performance, that prompted Heat center Meyers Leonard to respond and show off why he is the self-proclaimed "king of the bubble." Leonard loses points for spilling some of the beer on his hotel room floor, though, he should keep that place as clean as possible seeing as he'll be living there for the next couple months.
3. DJ Maxi Kleber
Every team is going to be inside the bubble for a minimum of a month as seeding games take place, so it'll be important for players to find ways to keep themselves entertained and busy. That wasn't too difficult for Mavericks big men Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell when they arrived in Orlando, as the pair put on a DJ set for their teammates and for all the fish swimming around in the lake outside their hotel.
This took place when the Mavs were still under mandatory quarantine, and Kleber said later that Powell was the mastermind behind the idea. Since then, the two have pulled off a number of other stunts, including using some Mario Kart-like tactics on the golf course. Powell and Kleber are certainly enjoying themselves early on in the bubble, and we'll surely see more content from these two as their time in Disney World continues.
4. Lots of fishing
The activity that's taken over the NBA bubble is by far fishing, and apparently all NBA players are master fishers in their spare time. Jonas Valanciunas appears to be the ultimate Bassmaster, but pretty much every player that's gone out and fished has posted one of these pictures. I'm not sure how many fish are in the Disney lake, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're all just catching the same ones and throwing them back. Still, though, it's pretty impressive to see how many of these guys are legitimately good at reeling them in, although not all of them are great at tossing them back.
Cue all the "Ben Simmons can't shoot a fish in the open water" jokes, or if you subscribe to the theory that he shoots with the wrong hand, then you would have more proof with this video. Everything about this is quite comical, though, because it looks like Simmons thinks he's posing for a photo, but teammate Josh Richardson indeed has his camera rolling. Thank goodness he did, because watching that fish flounder out of Simmons' hands and him just look down at the fish in disappointment, but also slightly annoyed, will never get old.
5. Players coming prepared to Disney World
If you've ever packed for a weekend vacation, you know how stress-inducing it can be. Trying to make sure you pack enough, but also not too much, and at the same time making sure you have multiple options for each day. Maybe I'm alone in that feeling, but I know that it would be incredibly difficult to pack for a month minimum, and certainly for a maximum of three months. So, I commend the following players for not only packing an adequate amount of stuff, but for also thinking outside the box:
- Kent Bazemore and Kyle Kuzma for having enough foresight to bring pancake and panini makers with them so they can always eat
- Lou Williams for bringing his studio setup to the bubble for whenever inspiration hits
- Montrezl Harrell for outshining everyone and pulling up with a portable sauna to decompress on his off days
- PJ Tucker for continuing his reign as NBA sneaker king and packing 60 shoes so he can have options
6. Matisse Thybulle starts a vlog
The NBA's most social media-savvy rookie has now become a YouTuber. At the beginning of the NBA hiatus, Thybulle took to TikTok and created some truly inventive videos, and now that he's mastered one of the most popular social media platforms, the Sixers rookie is now trying his hand at making a YouTube channel. The first video, which has already been viewed over 337,000 times, documents the Sixers trip to Orlando, with appearances from Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid. Thybulle's first video gives the best inside look at what the players had to go through when arriving at Disney World, from getting armbands that open their hotel rooms to the food they were given on Day 1 in the bubble.
His second video gives an even better look at how players were tested during quarantine which consisted of Thybulle pulling a chair up to the front door of his hotel room while people with personal protective equipment swabbed his mouth and nose before telling him it would take 12 hours before the results came in. It's surprising the league is allowing Thybulle to film so much footage, but his videos have given us all on the outside the best look at what it's like inside the bubble.
7. Dwight Howard is the only one enjoying the DJ sets
The NBA really did try to think of everything when planning for this bubble in Orlando. In the area of entertainment, the league went so far as to announce there would be DJ sets for players to enjoy throughout their time there. However, early returns suggest the players aren't feeling it at all. In fact, Lakers big man Dwight Howard was the only one in attendance at one of the sets, and even went on Instagram Live to document it all.
Throughout the video, Howard shows an empty pool area while the DJ is off in the distance playing music for a party of one. The funniest thing about it is that Howard is watching a UFC fight on his laptop and has headphones in, so clearly he wasn't all that into it either.
8. CJ McCollum and Mike Scott being the ultimate teammates
For players experiencing birthdays in the bubble, it's going to be a significantly different celebration than they're used to, but CJ McCollum and Mike Scott are here to ensure their teammates still feel special. Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard and Sixers guard Tobias Harris both had birthdays on Wednesday, and their teammates stepped up for them. McCollum decorated Lillard's hotel door, although not quite sure where he got all the decorations for it.
Scott did the same for Harris, covering his door with stars and balloons. What's interesting about the two photos, though, is that according to McCollum's photo, Lillard's staying in the presidential suite which is noted on the double doors of the room. Harris' room appears to be just a standard hotel room, so it looks like even in the bubble it pays to be a superstar in the league.
9. Terrance Ferguson keeping in touch with his daughter
One of the most difficult things that everyone inside the bubble will have to deal with, is being away from their families for an extended period of time. Some players took to social media to share the tough feelings of leaving their families, and the Toronto Raptors even added family pictures to each player's room to make them feel more at home. But, by far the most heartwarming thing that's taken place so far inside the bubble is Thunder forward Terrance Ferguson virtually interacting with his daughter. First, there's Ferguson playing some socially-distant peekaboo with his daughter Lylah. Then, there's Ferguson dancing along to the baby shark song with her on Instagram Live so they can feel somewhat connected. We love to see it.
10. Troy Daniels all dressed up with nowhere to go
When Daniels took to social media to show off one of his favorite outfits of the year, Lakers guard J.R. Smith was quick to question where he was going, considering they're not really allowed to leave the bubble. Daniels' response, "heading to the lobby to have a drink then back to the room for me," is a universal response everyone can relate to in 2020 as the pandemic has forced us all to quarantine at home. Since he's been in the bubble, Daniels has been sharing photos of the outfits he's wearing, and while he has nowhere to go, he's not letting the confines of Disney World stop him from getting some 'fits off.