NBA Coaches, Staff Allowed To Bring Guests Into Bubble
NBA coaches and staff "have been approved to bring guests into the bubble for the start of the respective conference finals," according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. A memo from the NBA states that each team "can bring no more than 10 guests to the Disney campus beginning with seven-day on-site quarantines." Nuggets coach Michael Malone "decried the inability of coaches to have family at the Orlando restart late last week." However, the conversation about allowing guests into team hotels "has been ongoing for several weeks" between the NBA and National Basketball Coaches Association Exec Dir Dave Fogel and President Rick Carlisle (ESPN.com, 9/8).
MALONE'S INITIAL COMMENTS: In Denver, Mike Singer reported Malone on Friday "issued a scathing rebuke of the NBA's bubble policies." He indicated that it was "'criminal in nature' that coaches weren't allowed to have family members in the bubble." Malone said, "The players have their families here, which they deserve, which is the right thing to do. The referees are allowed to bring one guest, which is great for the referees. The coaches, the coaches are not allowed to bring anybody. I say, shame on you, NBA. This is crazy. ... Sixty days and not having access and not being granted the privilege to have my family come here, to me, is criminal in nature. And that shouldn't be" (DENVER POST, 9/5). ESPN's Scott Van Pelt called the policy "insane" and said, "Denying coaches and referees visits from their families feels borderline inhumane. I think we all understand the fragility of the bubble and you cannot have too many people, understood. But 60 days in there with no family is a whole lot longer than I’d have gone before I raised hell about it” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 9/7).
TOUGH FOR FAMILIES: USA TODAY's Mark Medina noted LeBron James "declined to have his children visit the NBA's quarantined campus for a specific reason." James said, "There's literally nothing for them to do here. It's not a kid friendly place." The NBA recently allowed players' families to visit the bubble, and James has "welcomed the extra people in the building." In James' case, only his wife Savannah "has attended." James: "Having some of our family here and having some of our Laker personnel in the front office and things of that nature, it's great for us" (USA TODAY, 9/7). ABC's Mike Breen said of what life has been like inside the bubble, "I really miss my family. ESPN was kind enough to give us a break. I went home for five days. But it's really hard, and I can't imagine being one of the players that have little children and you don't see them for over two months. All my kids are adults in their 20s, so we can have good conversations on the phone, but to be a parent of small children, it really is difficult" (SI.com, 9/6).