NBPA's Michele Roberts on 'Bubble' Cities: 'That Sounds Like Incarceration'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2020

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 6: NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts speaks to the crowd as she takes part in the 2019 NBA Finals Cares Legacy Project as part of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 6, 2019 at the Ira Jinkins Recreation Center in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
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National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said the idea of "bubble" cities, where players would be quarantined away from their families to complete the 2019-20 NBA season amid the coronavirus pandemic, was met with "consternation" within the union.

Roberts, a former trial lawyer, told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne in an interview released Friday that players likely being under surveillance while staying in a hotel unless traveling directly to and from the arena for games and practice isn't an enticing option.

"Are we going to arm guards around the hotel?" she said. "That sounds like incarceration to me."

Roberts also questioned whether the plan would be worth it, given the possibility of further infections.

"So then the players were like, 'Well, I don't know that it's worth it to be away from my family for that long,'" she told Shelburne. "We could do all that, and then what happens when one or two or 10 players test positive after that 28-day isolation? Do we shut it down?"

Meanwhile, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported April 27 that the NBA was trying to finish the campaign at a time when some states are reopening, allowing teams to utilize their facilities, while organizations in major cities like Los Angeles and New York face more uncertainty.

Some teams are worried about a "competitive advantage" for squads that return to training earlier, and executives are concerned about players trying to find a way to restart their own workout program, per Woj.

"There has been a concern that players could start flocking to states that are reopening," an NBA team president told ESPN.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said April 17 that the league would examine all options to finish the season, but he admitted it was too soon to make any definitive decisions.

"Everything is on the table," Silver told reporters. "The direction that the league office has received from our teams is that all rules are off at this point. If there is an opportunity to resume play, even if it looks different from what we've done historically, we should be modeling it."

He added: "We are not in a position to make any decisions and it's unclear when we will be."

The NBA season has been halted since March 11.