NBA outlines plans for guests at bubble, requires proof of 'long-standing relationships'

Families of NBA players are readying to join the bubble at Disney World later this month and the league is attempting to ensure it all goes smoothly.

That’s why it is requiring players to provide proof of “long-standing relationships” with non-family members who are on the entrance list, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. Any casual acquaintance will not be allowed, such as those "known by the player only through social media or an intermediary," per the memo acquired by Wojnarowski.

NBA memo details rules for family entering bubble

The NBA and NBA Players Association agreed that once the first round of the playoffs has ended, players for the remaining teams can have family members join the bubble. The eight teams are allotted 17 hotel rooms for guests, leaving one room per player.

Guests are to be family members, “longtime close personal friends with whom a player has an established, pre-existing, and known personal relationship,” private security staff and established family childcare providers, per the Associated Press.

They are allowed up to four guests, per the memo, plus additional exceptions for children. Family members will be a part of the bubble and therefore can not go off campus or attend the Disney theme parks.

The earliest family members could clear quarantine is Aug. 31, per the memo. There are two choices for their seven-day required quarantine. The first is seven days off-campus near the ESPN Wide World of Sports site. Or three days quarantine in their home market, a franchise chartered flight to Orlando and four days of quarantine on the campus.

They will be allowed to attend games, marking the first in-person cheering audience since March for the players.

‘Long-standing relationship’ only to avoid issues

A basketball hoop to the left and socially distanced seats with padding that reads 'a whole new game.'
The NBA issued a memo detailing the guidelines for family to join the bubble at Disney World. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

That was the nitty-gritty details of the memo that are mostly of interest to players and their families, who have been unable to see each other in person for a month.

The thing that trigged the most interest was that the NBA specifically included that players would need to provide proof of a long-standing relationship for any non-family members. And it called out any strictly social media relationship as a no-go.

That seems to be more about preserving the positive atmosphere in the bubble environment, where there’s no escape and issues might come out on the court.

As one team general manager told ESPN, the issue of casual acquaintances "could create problems within your team — and maybe someone's else's too," and has been a significant topic of discussion among organizations hopeful to minimize internal drama as the playoffs unfold.

Wojnarowski reported there was “significant discussion and planning about how some guests could impact the league's environment.” That’s why people who have business relationships with players, such as agents, chefs, trainers, physical or massage therapists, hair stylists and tattoo artists, are not allowed in, per the memo.

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