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Hope everyone had a great weekend! After being officially eliminated over the weekend, this will be our last week in the bubble. Five-plus weeks later, we will head back to D.C. later in the week.
On Saturday, the morning after the team was eliminated from a possible play-in game after a loss to the Pelicans, we still went to work. The players and coaches had a two-hour film session, followed by low-minute players getting practice time in. The commitment to getting better, despite one of our goals of making the playoffs, was on full display on Saturday.
The team held another quick film session before the game Sunday, but unfortunately a poor start was too much to come back from against OKC. The early start time is an easy excuse, but everybody was disappointed considering we hadn’t dropped a dud like that since we got here. Still, there are two more opportunities coming up against the Bucks and Celtics this week to get better.
Reality is really setting in now that we’ll be leaving in less than a week. I’ve been taking more video to document the everyday stuff I’m used to that many people have not seen – testing, the Yacht Club campus, the arenas, and more. It took a bit to get adjusted here, but we’re so used to everything here now. Transitioning back to our usual lives, though not normal by any means, will require an adjustment in itself.
Many have said, “How will the teams that make a deep run manage to stay in the bubble until October?” Honestly, I think everyone will be just fine. Everyone is in grind mode now, and the accomodations are not much different than what these teams are used to. There’s no travel to other cities and you aren’t with your family and loved ones. But, during the playoffs, we almost have no time for anything but the playoffs, whether you work on the basketball or the business side.
Thank you for Front Office Sports for showcasing our Wizney World Blog and the Japanese version, Ohayo Wizards!
I also appreciated the shout out that the NBC Sports Washington team gave me in the fourth quarter of the broadcast on Sunday. Special thanks to play-by-play man Justin Kutcher, analyst Glenn Consor, and producer Rich Wolff, all of who are part of our usual traveling party and great people I’ve gotten to know very well. I appreciate the support that our content team back home has given me, as well.
To round out this post, I caught up with Dr. Daniel Medina, who is Monumental Basketball’s Chief of Athlete Care & Performance. Dr. Medina and his group have done a phenomenal job keeping us safe and healthy since this entire journey began in late June.
1. What has the experience been like for you personally and professionally?
Professionally, it has been a really unique experience. It’s hard to believe that it was only 6-8 weeks ago that making it to the bubble and then being able to restart the season seemed like a chimera for most of us. Having the opportunity to participate directly in the process the NBA has put in place with the teams to create the safest possible environment has been really enriching professionally. The opportunity to live 24/7 with our athletes and coaches has also created spaces for interaction that we normally don’t have. I have had similar experiences with FC Barcelona during the summer tours in the U.S. or Asia, but definitely the bubble aspect makes this experience a unique experience. In a more personal side, it has been hard being away from the family. Definitely the most taxing aspect of the bubble. On the other hand, I normally don’t have much time to slow down, reflect and look at the world around me with a more paused and reflective perspective; the bubble has provided those opportunities. In addition, I have had time to catch up with many colleagues and players around the League. So overall, the bubble has been a positive experience.
2. How have the Wizards and Mystics continued to adhere to the guidelines and protocols?
Both leagues have made it really easy to follow the protocols once in the bubble. Education plays a major role and we have had many meetings to remind all us that use of masks and proper physical distancing are key to avoid outbreaks. Our players and coaches have been outstanding, but I must give huge credit to Jeff Bangs, the head athletic trainer for the Wizards and Chalisa Fonza, head athletic trainer for the Mystics. They have done a tremendous job keeping everyone updated and taking care of all the details, making sure everyone is safe and to follow the most up to date protocols.
3. What is the medical setup like in the NBA campus in Orlando?
I have been in contact with many colleagues from professional soccer and basketball in Europe, and I can assure you the medical setup NBA has created in the bubble is first class. The daily screening with questionnaires, temperature checks, pulse oximetry and testing make possible a really early detection but most importantly all the details to avoid transmission have been carefully designed: number of people in rooms, buses, at the tables at the restaurant, constant cleaning of high traffic areas, etc. Regarding the medical support, we are one of the few teams to have our team physician here, Dr. Bryan Murtaugh. Along with the easy access to the campus clinic with full access to MRI, CT and a clean pathway to pretty much any hospital specialty, it makes the campus a really safe environment for our athletes to play basketball.