Fitz Files from Orlando: Leaving the Bubble

By Bob Fitzgerald

Warriors Broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald is in Orlando to broadcast select games from the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs. While in Florida, the Warriors' television play-by-play broadcaster for the last 23 seasons checks in to provide updates on his experiences and observations from the NBA Bubble.

Leaving Orlando I am struck with so many thoughts over the past 17 days of my life. And maybe the easiest way to categorize them is professional/personal.

I have such professional pride in the work ethic, teamwork, intellect and attention to detail that has embodied the NBA Campus in Orlando or “Bubble” concept. As the second round begins, family members of the remaining teams will be coming to Orlando, the next challenge in maintaining the perfect record of zero positive Covid-19 tests. I was tested seven times and with my daily temperature checked, I probably worked in the safest place in the world during the playoffs.

While being completely biased as to the team camaraderie and excellence of all things Warriors, I was incredibly impressed by so many other playoff coaches and players. The professionalism, energy and competitive spirit from all the teams in Orlando is palpable. The games have been well played with high-level effort. Better than anyone could have expected. I love the playoffs and can’t wait for the Warriors return next season. The title chase is wide open and the second round matchups are all incredibly intriguing.

I also have a profound sense of appreciation in being selected to call national playoff games. There are only three play-by-play broadcasters to call an NBA team, national NBA playoffs and the Olympics. When you are on any list with Marv Albert and Mike Breen, it's hard not to realize your good fortune.

Personally, Orlando will be something I will never forget. To think in 2020 we would watch a man killed by a police officer and another shot in the back multiple times within a matter of weeks is incomprehensible. These events imbued this whole NBA campus with a profound sense of sorrow. It led to many, many conversations with all of us that are so fortunate to work in such an incredibly diverse industry. We have to recognize ourselves in others. These men were fathers, brothers, sons and friends. I am also a father, brother, son and friend. These type of events can’t continue. They are an affront to humanity and no person of conscience can afford to stand on the sidelines any longer. To feel the pain of Doc Rivers, Chris Webber, Jim Jackson and so many other players and league personnel was so profound that it was impossible to not feel the palpable sadness here.

I was on the air and ready to call the MIL vs. ORL game. It will be part of history forever. And while it will be viewed as a political move and rightly needed call for action, it really started as men that needed to stop and pause, grieve and re-group. All of us have had events in our lives that made it difficult to focus on work. That’s what Wednesday was for the Bucks and the NBA. To see the MLB, NHL, WNBA and MLS also recognize that our country is at a critical moment in our history was so amazing and so welcome.

We now deal with the uncertainty of a global health crisis and face the unknown going forward in nearly every walk of life. I was struck by the back of Utah’s Joe Ingles jersey. He had the word “Ally.” And that is what everyone should be going forward. Be an ally to your friends, your co-workers and most importantly to total strangers that may need your help. Now more than ever compassion, kindness, empathy and generosity are needed in so many peoples' lives.

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