CNN: Covering the weirdest basketball season ever from inside the NBA bubble. “Shortly before Joe Vardon started covering last year’s NBA playoffs, the sports journalist took his family to Walt Disney World. Now, more than a year later, Vardon is back in Orlando, Florida — staying at the same Disney (DIS) hotel, in fact — but it’s a whole new world. Everyone is wearing masks. There are temperature checks at the entrances. And oh yes, there’s a deadly pandemic tearing across Florida, one of the country’s coronavirus hotspots.”
Engadget: The NBA will use Microsoft Teams to virtually seat fans courtside. “As part of its ongoing partnership with Microsoft, the league plans to use the software’s recently released Together Mode to put more than 300 fans in the stands. The feature utilizes AI to segment your face and shoulders and put you in a shared digital space with other people.”
Los Angeles Times: Shotgunning and social justice: Twitter account highlights life in NBA bubble. “The basketball world was treated to a video of New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick shotgunning a beer while inside the NBA bubble because of a dare on a tweet. Drew Ruiz, 29, was the man behind the tweet on the account @NBABubbleLife. He is one-fourth of a ‘Wealth’ group chat, the name serving as an inside joke between friends.” There’s one for the WNBA too.
CNET: The NBA is coming back: Dates, locations, who’s sitting out and how to watch basketball’s 2020 return. “After the coronavirus shut down the NBA season along with everything else, basketball is finally set to return on July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, inside Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Negotiations between the league and the NBA Players Association resulted in a new deal that will allow play to resume after a hiatus of nearly five months, but the final pro basketball games of 2020 will be unlike any previous year.”
NPR: Need A Polling Place With Social Distancing? 3 NBA Teams Offer Venues. “Teams in the National Basketball Association, the American pro sports league long most vocal on social justice issues, are stepping up their civic participation, as three have now volunteered their facilities to serve as voting sites amid the pandemic. The development comes as local election officials, especially those in major metropolitan areas, frantically search for places that are centrally located and big enough to allow voters to social distance while waiting in line and casting their ballots.”
NBC South Florida: Second Miami Heat Player Tests Positive For Coronavirus, Cancelling Team Workouts. “The Miami Heat has confirmed to NBC 6 that a second Heat player has tested positive for coronavirus, resulting in a cancellation of individual team member workouts at American Airlines Arena. At the end of last month, it was revealed that Derrick Jones Jr. had tested positive for the virus, a result that came in shortly after the Heat and other NBA teams began mandatory testing in preparation for July’s resumption of the season.”
Complex: Here’s the ‘Smart Ring’ NBA Players Will Wear to Monitor COVID-19 Symptoms While in Orlando. “Included in the NBA’s plan to restart the 2019-2020 season at Walt Disney World in Orlando is that players will be given the option to wear Oura smart rings to detect if and when they begin showing symptoms of COVID-19.”
Vox: The NBA might be returning this summer — in Disney World. “The NBA — among the first professional sports leagues in the US to suspend play due to the coronavirus pandemic — is looking to relaunch its season in late July at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, according to a statement from Mike Bass, the league’s chief communications officer.”
CBS Sports: NBA 2K Players Tournament bracket: How to watch online, live stream, TV channel, start times, dates, results. “The tournament will be played on the Xbox One console and the winner will be crowned the ultimate NBA 2K20 champion and receive a $100,000 charity donation in their name to support coronavirus relief efforts. The seeding is determined by the player’s 2K rating and tenure. The first slate of games tipped off Friday night with No. 1 overall seed Kevin Durant losing to 16-seeded Derrick Jones Jr., while third-seed Hassan Whiteside lost to No. 14 Patrick Beverley.”
Sports Illustrated: How NBA Stars Are Using Social Media to Educate About the Coronavirus. “In the days immediately following the NBA’s indefinite suspension of play, the league’s social media feeds reflected a new normal. Gone were clips of Lakers star LeBron James finishing powerful dunks and Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo going coast-to-coast after hauling in opposing misses. Instead, and in its place, were videos featuring players from different backgrounds and of varying skill-levels, all talking about the coronavirus.”
Reuters: NBA, Twitch announce deal for digital rights to USA Basketball. “USA Basketball is the governing body of American basketball and fields men’s and women’s teams for international competitions, including this year’s International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup in China starting Aug. 31 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. NBA handles media and marketing partnerships for the organization.”
New-to-me, from High Snobriety: ‘From the Ground Up’ Explores a Japanese Museum of Game-Worn NBA Jerseys & Bespoke Sneakers. “Tadahiro Hakamata, owner of an online museum called Layupshot which houses 1,500 game-worn NBA jerseys and numerous Nike bespoke sneakers, tells us his story for the latest episode of From the Ground Up.”
CNET: Facebook Watch scores recaps of every NBA, WNBA game. “NBA Digtial, along with the NBA and Turner Sports, has teamed up with Facebook to make all NBA, WNBA, NBA G League and NBA 2K League game recaps available on the social network. Now you can watch recaps from every game of the season on Facebook Watch, the social network’s platform for videos and livestreaming events. The episodes will include the Summer League, preseason and playoffs.”
Engadget: Follow the NBA Finals in high-resolution VR. “NextVR has been partnering with the NBA to livesream games for the last two years, and now it’s going to cover the upcoming Finals. After each game, the service will upload free-to-watch highlights in a new high-resolution format to its dedicated NextVR app, which works with most virtual reality headsets.”
Ubergizmo: NBA Targets Casual Viewers With $0.99 Fourth Quarter Live Streams. “Only the most dedicated of NBA fans will spend a significant amount of money on a League Pass. It’s not something that the casual viewer would do, those who only tune in to watch the ending of a game from time to time. Some of these viewers might just stick with illegal online streams to watch the fourth quarter and perhaps this is why the NBA is experimenting with a new $0.99 option which will enable casual viewers to tune into the official stream of a game in the fourth quarter only.” What an interesting idea.