Lakers' LeBron James Comments on Missing His Family While Playing in NBA Bubble

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 16, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Many NBA players inside the league's bubble near Orlando, Florida, have been without their families for more than a month now.

The league invited 22 teams to its restart with the catch being no one from outside could join them until later in the playoffs. With six of those teams heading home before the postseason begins Monday, those who remain are starting to feel the isolation more than ever.

Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope told the Los Angeles Times' Tania Ganguli he misses the chaos that comes with being home in the mornings. His teammate, LeBron James, couldn't help but agree:

"You can't replicate actual presence when you're waking up and you're in the living room or you're in the kitchen or you're outside playing with your kids or playing with your daughter, playing video games with your boys or working out with your boys. You can't replicate that. I'm not there.

"Savannah [James' wife] is a beast at what she does. That's controlling the home and being that rock for our family. So I'm not worried about that. But you definitely, you have that miss factor when you miss your family, you miss your kids."

It's not just NBA stars, either.

Over in Toronto, where one of the NHL's Canadian bubbles is operating, Boston Bruins star goalie Tuukka Rask opted out of the playoffs Saturday to return home. The Vezina Trophy finalist for goalie of the year said "there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that's being with my family" in a team statement.

That the Bruins entered the restart as a Stanley Cup favorite mattered little compared to Rask having a newborn and two young daughters who needed him more.

"It's tough to be a FaceTime parent," Memphis Grizzlies forward Anthony Tolliver said. "It's not nearly as fulfilling. But it is better than nothing."

Following the first round of the playoffs, the NBA will allow some guests of players to enter the bubble—with certain conditions.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, entry is limited to four guests per player excluding children. Only family or established long-standing personal friends are allowed. And all guests must be tested before getting on team chartered flights to Florida.

Until then, it'll be family video calls and quiet mornings a bit longer.


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