The NBA bubble has been a huge success. Most importantly because the league has proven - along with MLS and NHL - that bubbles work. This is, of course, very frustrating because it proves that if America had done everything they were suppose to, we would have this virus under control. Test, trace, isolate, social distance, wear masks, etc. This is all the bubble is. It's exactly what experts said to do and it's exactly how New Zealand was able to go 100 days without a case and it's the reason that fans are returning to sporting events around the world while we're canceling college sports one by one.
What was the point of this?
Oh, yeah... The NBA bubble. Have you seen the games inside the bubble? They have a familiar look and feel and it somehow seems like every single game is competitive and high-scoring. Every superstar looks extra super. Every game is close. Every single season should be played under these conditions for the betterment of the game.
OK, maybe that's a bit too much.
Maybe I'm overreacting. Perhaps absence just made the heart grow fonder and three-pointers drop more often. Is it the extra room to operate on the sidelines? Is it the fact that these are true neutral courts? Did we check to make sure the rims weren't just a little bigger? Is it the full days of competitive NBA games?
Whatever is happening, it is working. The NBA should embrace this. You know that mid-season tournament Bill Simmons takes credit for inventing that doesn't exist? Well, if it did exist, it should exist under these circumstances. Well, maybe minus the whole pandemic as the nation crumbles on the outside of the bubble, but getting the whole league together to live under one big invisible dome for a few weeks of wall-to-wall basketball is definitely something the NBA should make a regular tradition.
What if the entire league came to Disney for a few weeks every winter to play, but they could bring their families and could actually go out into the parks? This seems like something that would be awesome for ESPN. Players get a working vacation. Teams that don't get a lot of national TV exposure get some. Plus, it could help break up the grind of a long season where they are constantly traveling. It could be for a small tournament or just a chunk of the regular season. Or if we must settle, it could be the preseason.
The league and its broadcasting partners would be able to do some of that incredible reality television content, plus there's all the added off-court drama that these guys seeing each other every day seems to create. What happens when Dame Lillard and Pat Beverley have to stand in line near each other for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for 75 minutes? That's something that truly needs to be mic'd up.
They could even add some seating. Make it part of the Disney NBA experience. Keep most of the virtual fans. Put real fans up in the owner bubbles. The possibilities are endless. All that truly matters is that there would be some awesome basketball at the heart of this event. Over the past few weeks, the league has proven that would be the case.