No Complaints from C’s as They Adjust to Life Inside NBA Bubble
BOSTON – Life inside the “bubble” at the NBA Campus in Orlando will take some getting used to for the 22 teams that now call it their home.
It won’t be easy being isolated away from loved ones for as many as three months. It won’t be ideal having to adjust practice times to accommodate all participants. And it won’t be pleasurable having to follow the strict safety guidelines that have been put in place in light of the ongoing pandemic.
However, such sacrifices are ones that the Boston Celtics will gladly make as long as it allows them to return to playing the game that they love. They refuse to be inconvenienced by any lifestyle adjustments as they pursue their collective goal of winning a championship.
“We’re on a mission, all of us here,” Jaylen Brown said during a Zoom conference call with the media Friday afternoon following the team’s first practice in Orlando. “We don’t want to do too much complaining about other stuff. We want to focus on what we can control and divert most of our energy to why we’re here.”
Coach Brad Stevens, who lives by the motto, “control what you can control,” echoed Brown’s sentiment as he discussed some of the on-court adjustments the team may have to make in the coming weeks.
For instance, Friday’s practice window ended up being cut in half, from three hours down to 90 minutes, but the coach insisted, “It was no big deal.”
Instead, he focused on the positives: “We’re in a convention center ballroom that they put two courts down. It was an excellent environment to practice in. They had a weight room in there, and they had all kinds of stuff. So it’s a huge area, a huge space, very convenient to get done what you need to get done.”
There will also be some tight turnarounds in regard to practice time. For example, on Friday, the Celtics had a 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. window booked; then on Saturday, they have a 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. slot. This means that they will likely practice light Saturday morning in order to avoid too putting much stress on their bodies over such a short period of time.
“There will just be some things like that that you just have to adjust to, and we’re prepared for that,” Stevens said. “We’ve got everything. We’ve got plenty of time to think about it, so we’re ready to roll and we’re able to hit curveballs if we need to.”
Another curveball is getting past the mental hurdle of playing during a pandemic. Brown admittedly felt a bit apprehensive at first about potentially risking his health, but he trusts the league in helping to maintain the safety of its players through various measures, such as requiring them to isolate in their respective rooms for 48 hours upon arrival.
“A lot of people were nervous, including myself, coming down here, unsure of maybe the long-term effects of some of the COVID-related things,” Brown said. “But we think the NBA is going to do a good job of keeping us safe.”
By following such protocol, the Celtics are also able to clear their minds when they’re on the court, knowing that they are taking all measures necessary to remain healthy.
“I think the only thing we were concerned about was just getting our rhythm back,” noted Semi Ojeleye. “Once we got on the court and took our masks off, basketball was really the only thing we were thinking about.”
Although the circumstances may not be completely ideal and some adjustments may be difficult to make, the Celtics feel as though they have no reason to complain during their stay on the NBA Campus.
The reason for that, Ojeleye explained, is simple: “At the end of the day, we get to play basketball. And that’s what we love to do.”