The NBA’s bubble at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, is providing players with a unique set of challenges — many of which they’ve never had to face before in their playing careers.
Many have complained publicly about their living conditions there, too.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, however, isn’t going to complain about anything.
The Milwaukee Bucks star’s tough upbringing in Greece forces him to put the conditions in Florida into perspective.
“I’m in a situation where I’m extremely blessed and I cannot complain,” Antetokounmpo said Monday, via ESPN. “Obviously, it doesn’t matter where you are in life, there’s always something to complain, there’s always a problem and an issue. But I try to kind of not focus on that.
“So as I said, my apartment in Greece when I was younger, with my four brothers, was way smaller than the suite that I have in the hotel, so I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.”
All 22 teams that are participating in the league’s restart arrived in Florida late last week, ahead of the July 30 kickoff — which will mark nearly five months since the season was first suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still raging throughout Florida and the United States.
There were more than 3.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Sunday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 135,000 deaths attributed to it. The country set a single-day record on Friday, too, recording more than 68,000 new cases.
Florida had more than 282,000 confirmed cases, the third-most in the country behind only New York and California, and set a stunning state record on Sunday with more than 15,000 new cases.
Two of the 332 players who were tested upon arrival in Florida have since tested positive and are now in isolation away from the bubble. The league also announced that 19 players “newly tested positive” since July 1, though didn’t identify anyone. Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook announced he had tested positive, though he did not travel to Florida with the team.
Antetokounmpo was averaging 29.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per game this season when play was suspended, both career-highs following his league MVP-winning performance last season.
While he said he “sucked” during the team’s practice on Monday, and believes “this is gonna be the toughest championship you could ever win,” Antetokounmpo is excited to be part of history — no matter how difficult and uncomfortable it may be.
“This is something special,” Antetokounmpo said, via ESPN. “Hopefully, this pandemic never happens again so we never are able to come back in the campus, but at the end of the day, this is part of history, so just being able to be here, participate in this, I’m just trying to be in the moment, trying to enjoy every moment, trying to enjoy basketball.
“I’m happy that we’re back playing basketball, something that I love doing, so there’s nothing really to complain about.”
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