The NBA just copped a concerning dose of reality about the challenges of keeping its season alive before it restarts on July 31.
NBA teams have been in the “bubble” for a week at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and the league has had to deal with positive coronavirus tests, players pulling out and now the first breaches to its stringent quarantine rules.
The NBA has gone to great lengths to keep its season alive with players, staff and media forced to abide by a strict regime of testing and isolation before the games tip-off to make sure everybody is virus free.
But doubts about keeping the bubble disease free have heightened after an Instagram model claimed she had already been invited by a player to attend.
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“I already got invited to the bubble,” Anna Mya tweeted. “Yea the season definitely ending early.”
She later deleted the tweet.
Guests of players, including family and friends, will not be able to enter the bubble for another six weeks and bringing someone into the bubble at this stage is definitely against the rules.
While she didn’t name the NBA player who invited her, the revelation has again raised concerns over whether NBA players can stay within the guidelines.
Two players have already been sanctioned for breaking the rules with Sacramento Kings forward Richaun Holmes and the Houston Rockets’ Bruno Caboclo back in isolation after breaking quarantine rules.
Players have been complaining about the quality of food on offer at Disney World and Holmes left the bubble to pick up a food delivery.
Holmes might have been guided by a tweet from Phoenix Suns star Kelly Oubre, who claimed players could pick up food from the front of the hotel.
“To all my NBA bros. (Food delivery service) Postmates delivers to the hotel!!! You just have to go out and meet the delivery person at the hotel entrance. Security will not hold the food for you or help you,” Oubre tweeted.
“Yeah the food wack but we here for a bigger purpose, hope that helps …#shhh.”
Oubre later deleted the tweet and followed it up with a simple “Never mind lol” after Holmes’ breach was revealed.
Holmes has eight days left of his 10-day quarantine after the delivery mishap.
“After the initial quarantine period, I briefly and accidentally crossed the NBA campus line to pick up a food delivery,” Holmes said in a statement.
“I apologise for my actions and look forward to rejoining my teammates for our playoff push.”
Caboclo is also in isolation after “inadvertently” breaking the rules.
“These quarantines are the result of separate circumstances in which the players had interactions with members of the public outside the Disney entrance gate, and are in accordance with the health and safety protocols agreed to by the NBA and the Players Association,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass told USA TODAY Sports.
An NBA statement said out of 322 players tested at the Disney World campus since teams started arriving on July 7, two have returned positive tests.