Gregg Popovich touts NBA bubble vs. U.S. leadership as league reports zero COVID-19 cases

The NBA announced on Wednesday that COVID-19 testing has produced zero coronavirus cases inside the bubble six days after the resumption of its season.

It’s the second straight report of no COVID-19 cases in the bubble after an initial round of testing found two cases among players who were quarantined as they arrived at the Disney World campus. Wednesday’s results arrived after 343 players were tested.

The result is obviously good news for the NBA, which is setting the standard for sports amid the pandemic as MLB struggles to contain outbreaks and the outlook for the NFL and college football aren’t great.

Pop contrasts Adam Silver with Donald Trump

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich touted the bubble as an example for United States as the pandemic maintains its grip on the nation. He praised commissioner Adam Silver for his leadership and players in the bubble for their discipline in maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols.

“I think it’s a great example for the country,” Popovich told reporters in a video conference. “No. 1, our leader had a vision, knew how to organize, did it efficiently. And the participants, unlike many of our citizens, have been very disciplined about reaching this goal and coming together for a common purpose.”

Popovich didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name, but he invoked him in comparing Silver’s approach to managing the pandemic.

“We can just look at our country and realize that from the top, we don’t have that ability to organize for all the reasons we know,” Popovich said. “As a population, you worry about the fiber of our country to some degree because we just don’t have the discipline.”

Gregg Popovich wears his message on his chest.
Gregg Popovich wears his message on his chest. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The United States, of course, doesn’t have the option of operating in a COVID-19 bubble. It does have the option to organize a united front to combat the spread of the pandemic and prioritize diligence amongst its citizens.

As states largely operated independently in providing COVID-19 guidelines and mask-wearing became politicized, the pandemic spread and the United States has accounted for 4.8 million of the world’s 18.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 157,000 of 702,000 global deaths linked to COVID-19.

Bars over schools?

Popovich pointed to many states — like his home state of Texas — that prioritized opening bars over containing the outbreak. He once again invoked Trump without saying his name.

“It would have been a lot more wise to spend time worrying about how to open schools rather than how to open bars,” Popovich continued. “So we opened the bars, etcetera, and now we’re in this very difficult position with schools. Had we had leadership to have that vision in the first place, we might have acted differently earlier.”

Popovich has spoken regularly about the pandemic from the bubble, sometimes while wearing a shirt reading “Vote: your life depends on it.”

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