Report: Rules Revealed for NBA Player Guests in Bubble During 2020 Playoffs

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2020

The Boston Celtics and the Memphis Grizzlies take a knee during the national anthem prior to the start of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.. AP Photo/Mike Ehrmann, Pool)
Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

The NBA and NBPA have reportedly informed teams of the guidelines for players to bring guests inside the bubble near Orlando, Florida, following the first round of the playoffs.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, a memo sent to NBA teams Wednesday said players will be allowed to invite family members and "established long-standing personal friends." 

Wojnarowski added that each player will be allowed to bring in four guests, although the number can be exceeded for children. Also, the guests will be permitted to travel on team charters after testing negative for COVID-19, and they will be allowed to attend games in person.

Per Wojnarowski, the memo described a person not permitted to enter the bubble as follows: "Any individual the player has not previously met in person or with whom the player has had limited in-person interactions. (For example)... known by the player only through social media or an intermediary."

The 2019-20 NBA campaign was shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the season did not resume until the end of July at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Thus far, the bubble concept has worked to near-perfection. Players who need to leave the bubble are required to self-quarantine upon their return and test negative for COVID-19 multiple times before rejoining their teams. Since the season resumed, no players have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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There is a strong argument to be made both for and against having guests in the bubble.

On one hand, it is a risk to bring in more people from across the country. That risk should be mitigated by testing beforehand, but there is no guarantee that someone won't carry the virus in with them. 

At the same time, players will have been away from their families for well over a month by the time the second round of the playoffs starts Aug. 31.

While it appears the plan to allow guests in the bubble is on track, it will be a highly scrutinized decision if it does anything to jeopardize player safety.