LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Los Angeles Lakers security guard Danny Green proposed to longtime girlfriend Blair Bashen on a beach in Southern California on June 14. About three weeks later, Green only traveled to Walt Disney World Resort with the Lakers across the country to continue the pandemic-interrupted NBA season.
On Monday, Green will be reunited with his fiancée after nearly two months in the NBA bubble. NBA players whose teams have advanced to the second round of the playoffs can reunite with select loved ones this week. For Green, this means his fiancée as defending champions Lakers is preparing for the second round of the playoffs after eliminating the Portland Trail Blazers on August 29.
"My mind was in one place and my heart is in another," said Green. "We're tired of being here. We wanted our families to be here and some are on their way here. Some of our families are quarantined right outside the bubble. Some will be here in a few days. We know that that will improve things for us. "
The NBA and the players' association have previously agreed that up to three family members and / or non-family members with "long-standing relationships" can be quarantined in order to gain access to the bladder. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported that "terms have been negotiated that will prevent players from accepting guests who are considered completely casual, including" only known to the player through social media or an intermediary "."
The NBA and the NBA Players' Association have agreed to limit the number of guests on campus during the pandemic for health reasons.
Each NBA team that advanced to the second round received an additional 17 hotel rooms for guests. Monday is the earliest time NBA guests can clear quarantine and enter the bubble.
A seasoned NBA player on a team slated for the second round said he would have adjoining rooms for himself, his wife, and three children. Fred VanVleet, the guardian of the Toronto Raptors, said the players debated whether to put children in the adult-laden bladder. VanVleet eventually decided to bring his friend Shontai Neal and their baby daughter Sanaa and baby son Fred Jr.
"I've been looking forward to seeing my family for a while. Obviously there has been a lot of debate about whether or not they should be brought," VanVleet told The Undefeated Quarantine and test … But we made a decision for them to come. I just hope they are as excited to see me as I am to see them.
“I know when I get home I feel like Superman because they run to me. But I'll probably run to them this time. Cant wait to see her and I miss my girl and can just have that affection and love. It's a big part of my everyday life and if I need to have her here with me, I think that would certainly help now. "
Los Angeles Clippers forwad Paul George misses his two young daughters very much, but decided that it would be better for them to stay at home as the bladder is mostly set up for adults.
"It's Disney, but it's not kid-friendly here," said George. “There isn't much for children to do here. There is a pool and that is it. I don't want to get my kids to get tested every day. I know my girl would go crazy if quarantined with kids for four days. "
George told The Undefeated that his partner Daniela Rajic was due to enter the bladder on Friday after the quarantine was completed. Rajic and other people associated with Clippers players who were first quarantined from home will arrive in Orlando on Monday and will be quarantined through Friday. George said he dealt with depression in part last week because he was away from his family for two months with the Clippers in the NBA bubble. George said his parents could come later, but seeing Rajic was "a great relief".
"It's just someone to talk to outside of basketball," George told The Undefeated. "For me it is a female companion. My girl. Having different conversations. … A lot will change. It's like bringing a piece of home here and making it more homely."
Players are also allowed to give one ticket per game. Having loved ones playing games also contributes to the environment.
According to George, Rajic plans to spend time working on her swimwear line while in the bubble and will be allowed to use the allocated ticket to join the game.
“She says she will have time to come up with new ideas for the bathing suits. She thinks positively about what she can do, ”said George.
Guests of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets stand still as both teams will play in game 6 of their first round on Monday. The father of Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets rookie striker Porter Sr., has been quarantined in the bladder area since Aug. 24 and can enter if Denver advances. But the Nuggets fell 3-2 in a best-of-seven series in the first round against Utah Jazz and are about to end on Sunday.
If an NBA team is eliminated from the playoffs while their loved ones are in quarantine, they won't be allowed to enter the bubble.
"He would like to share the bubble with me and so that I can play through it on behalf of me."Porter Sr., former Missouri assistant coach and former University of New Orleans security guard.
NBA coaches and other team personnel are not allowed to bring a guest into the bladder. An NBA head coach told The Undefeated he wished he could get his son into the bladder. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said the coaches sacrificed being able to bring in personal guests to bring in additional team staff. NBA teams can only have 35 employees, including players, in the bubble. The goal has always been to have fewer than 1,500 people in the bladder.
"I'm happy with it. I don't love it, but it's a sacrifice. You make sacrifices. That's how I see it. And the sacrifice is that players can take in their families and we can take in our staff. It's a sacrifice, that we have to bring, ”Rivers told The Undefeated.
However, his son, the Houston Rockets Guard Austin Rivers, and his son-in-law Dallas Mavericks Guard Seth Curry play in Rivers. Rivers saw his son play Thunder on a day off at Clippers on Aug 29.
NBA umpires are allowed to bring a guest, but two NBA umpires told The Undefeated they didn't think an official would do this. An NBA referee said they would have to pay around $ 700 a day to quarantine their loved ones, which would include a room, food and COVID-19 testing.
"I don't think anyone does so it hasn't been a conversation for us since the day we got here," an NBA referee told The Undefeated.
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Another referee said: “Our limit was one. Are you going to bring [your] wife and leave your children at home? "
Soon, women, girlfriends, children, parents and other friends will get into the bladder. For many NBA players, it will feel like a home away from home. However, Green wishes that the man's best friend would also be invited.
"I would love to have my dogs," said Green. "But they don't allow pets. Pets will definitely lighten the mood. That would help. Anyone who has any say can bring some dogs in here. But I have my fiancée."
Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for The Undefeated. He used to be able to get involved with you, but he hadn't been able to do it in years and his knees still hurt.