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Wizney World Blog: Now it counts
July 28, 10:20 P.M.
We’ve officially been in Orlando for three weeks!
Today’s big topic of discussion was what happened with the Miami Marlins and in Major League Baseball in general. The NBA ,WNBA, and NHL all took this bubble approach knowing the risks of travel and looser guidelines. Regardless, it was a sobering reminder of just how dangerous this virus is, and how careful we all need to be even with the bubble showing early success. There’s a long way to go here in Orlando still, and nothing can be taken for granted. I wouldn’t say anything changes – we are already adhering to the protocols and guidelines – but it just reminds everyone to continue to do so and not get complacent.
Looking back to Monday’s scrimmage against the Lakers, it was the team’s first experience at Visa Athletic Center. The lighting in the arena was very cool and this arena probably has the most intimate experience of the three courts. As the first game of the day, we were able to warm up on the court. There is a practice court right next to it, so it was pretty crazy postgame to have us wrapping up and have two different teams practicing right there while they prepare and sanitize the court for the next game. For example, while we did our postgame media, Michael Carter-Williams and Michael Porter Jr. were on adjacent courts warming up.
Back to the game itself, the result was certainly disappointing considering all of the progress the Wizards had made during practice and scrimmages. Still, the Wizards had strong moments and made it close at the end. Hachimura had another strong offensive performance, leading seven Wizards in double figures. Coach Brooks was not thrilled with how the team played, but this is a young, developing group here at Disney that will have moments like this. Luckily, the game didn’t count, and the Wizards can turn their attention to the seeding games beginning on Friday.
The team returned to the practice court on Tuesday morning to get some work in. It was comparatively a light practice to what the team will have on Wednesday and Thursday, in which they will specifically prepare for the Suns. It will be a busy weekend of opening play for the team, with three games in four days. Even with no travel, playing that many games right off the bat will be physically challenging after not playing a regular season game since March 10.
Tuesday was also Troy Brown Jr.’s 21st birthday! He had the rookies sing to him after practice, which is always a fun moment. Brown Jr. and his teammates went to dinner later and celebrated his birthday, which Troy assured me you’ll see in the next episode of Ballin’ in the Bubble, dropping on Friday. Having a bubble birthday isn’t ideal, but being able to spend it with your teammates is better than nothing.
In anticipation of the season restart, the NBA partnered each team with an international celebrity. The Wizards were matched with tennis star Naomi Osaka! She and Hachimura obviously have a lot in common being half-Japanese, but also half-Black in Japan where they are certainly in the minority. It was interesting to hear her thoughts on the NBA restart, Black Lives Matter, becoming an NBA fan, and more.
Some more random notes that may peak your interest. The restaurant here at Yacht Club is a big hit among those in bubble; teams from other hotels come to it routinely. By the way, buses run between the hotels every 20 minutes or so most of the hours of the day. Also, I ran into the barbers from the barbershop at Yacht Club, and they told me they're expecting a lot of clients this week ahead of season restart openers. Additionally, the Wizards will have a dinner and movie night on Thursday night. Lastly, it's a big birthday week for the team; Friday is also Coach Brooks' and Thomas Bryant's birthdays.
That’ll do it from me tonight. Looking forward to a few practice days and basketball that matters starting up league-wide on Thursday and on Friday for the Wizards!