Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The NBA bubble at Walt Disney World demands a documentary and will surely get its own "30 for 30" one day. But as the action begins to unfolds, it's clear that the players, themselves, will be the primary storytellers.
Why it matters: The most unique sporting event in history (just ahead of every other event this year) will be documented by its participants, making it less of a traditional "sports season" and more of a must-see reality show.
- The intrigue: Many NBA players already have experience capturing their lives on camera, creating content for social media and building their brands beyond basketball through things like music and eports/livestreaming.
Inside the bubble: Players are finding creative ways to stay busy while they self-quarantine and wait for the season to resume on July 30 — and, like most young people, they're posting everything on social media and getting others involved.
- 76ers rookie Matisse Thybulle vlogged his trip from Philadelphia to Orlando, providing a first-person POV of what it's like to arrive in the bubble.
- Multiple players engaged in a beer shotgun challenge. Miami's Meyers Leonard shotgunned a Coors Light in record time, declaring himself "King of the Bubble."
- Dallas' Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell, aka DJ Ice-o and DJ Q, hosted a self-quarantine balcony dance party."
- A Twitter account (@NBABubbleLife) has already been created. Its mission: curate all the player-generated content and "bring the bubble to your timeline."
The big picture: There are a handful of NBA reporters inside the bubble, but they won't be permitted to do most of the things they typically do as reporters (mingle in the locker room, talk to players, overhear conversations, land "scoops").
- In many ways, they're not there to cover basketball so much as they're there to cover the bubble, itself. How are players adjusting to their bizarre new reality? How is the league handling health and safety? Things like that.
- The focus of that coverage will shine an even brighter light on the players' off-court personalities, and the inner workings of an NBA team (ya know, the stuff we don't normally get to see until something like "The Last Dance" comes out and blows ours minds).