On the Road with OGIO: Inside the Bubble

On the Road with OGIO: Inside the Bubble

by Kurt Gies

Max Reza and Kyle Rohde pack the truck for the long trip ahead.

“This was a unique trip to pack for. Our goal is to be here for three months, so I couldn’t pack like I do for a typical road trip during the regular season. I usually try and be efficient with my packing, but this time around I focused on having adequate inventory for an extended stay. I packed enough socks, shorts, compressions socks, etc. for three months and transformed the hotel room next to mine into my equipment room here in Orlando. We’re here for the long haul.”

—Max Reza, Director of Team Operations

The aforementioned pop-up equipment room.

Sanitation and safety are paramount on the NBA campus in Orlando. Among the hundreds of safety measures that were implemented, Tommy Murdock prepares multiple individual water bottles for each player to ensure there are no refills from a common water source or accidental sharing.

Social-distanced bench seating on the sidelines are assigned to each player individually.

A meticulous cleaning crew disinfects the entire playing area before each game.

Setting up the locker room prior to games is no small task.

“The entire operation is unique because you can only get into the locker room a couple of hours before tip-off. In the regular season, you usually have a shootaround at the arena in the morning and you load in your equipment and set up your locker room during that time. In Orlando, we have only one hour to transport equipment and set up our locker room before the team arrives. Luckily I’ve got plenty of help. Our assistant athletic trainer, Tommy Murdock, and Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Daniel Shapiro, accompany me on the equipment bus and assist me with locker room set up. Not to mention, the NBA has provided us with team attendants that also help us unload equipment and set up our team locker room.”

—Max Reza

The setup is complete.

In the hallway of the arena, Daniel Shapiro prepares Marcus Morris for the game ahead.

“There are definitely some challenges that come with getting guys ready for games in this environment, in contrast to the typical season. First of all, even if you’re the home team, it’s still a road game in certain ways. Training equipment at the arenas is uniform and distributed equally to all teams to ensure there is no competitive advantage. Player pregame routines are often modified due to timing constraints and limited access to the court. Because multiple games are being played in the arenas and the cleaning crew has to disinfect the court, we have a much shorter window for court access compared with the normal season. On the flip side, there are some advantages as well. Because the schedule is so strict, we all arrive and depart together on one of two buses decreasing certain variables that may alter a successful pregame warmup - such as L.A. traffic.

—Daniel Shapiro

Doc Rivers encourages the players during their pregame routines one last time before the tip.

Just behind the beautiful LED boards that hug the court, the team huddles together one last time before taking the floor in front of the home (virtual) fans.

For Dennis Rogers, Director of Basketball Communications, connecting media to players and coaches on the NBA campus has been unique. With limited media personnel permitted on site, players and coaches fulfill their media obligations via Zoom on a socially distanced setup in the hallways of the arena just outside the team locker room.

Another example of how NBA PR has prepared designated areas for teams to connect with local and national media.

Unwinding on campus.

The players have plenty of opportunity for recreation while on campus. When time permits, they are able to enjoy the pool, bike rides, golf, volleyball, even an arcade. For Paul George, his passion for fishing takes him late into the evening on the hotel dock. “Being able to do things like this makes (being on campus) more normal for me because it’s a time just to reflect. I feel like I’m at home again.”

—Paul George

OGIO is proud to serve as the team’s supplier of high performance travel gear throughout the NBA season and offseason. For more information on OGIO or to shop products, click here.

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