Considering all the problems Major League Baseball is facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that the virus is raging in Florida, the Nets are grateful for the security of the “bubble” the NBA has managed to create at the Disney World campus in Orlando as they prepare to resume the season against the Magic on Friday.
On Wednesday, the NBA announced the league has conducted 344 coronavirus tests since the previous announcement on July 20, and none turned up positive. Asked for his thoughts on what happened to the Miami Marlins baseball team, which now has 16 players testing positive for COVID-19, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said, “I think it’s a clear warning of staying vigilant and practicing all the protocols.
“I think the NBA has done an unbelievable job of setting the format and the guidelines, and it’s up to the individuals to respond to those guidelines in a respectful and mature way.”
Of course, the Nets had their share of problems with the virus before leaving Brooklyn. Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince all dropped out after testing positive, and Wilson Chandler opted out for personal reasons. But forward Joe Harris said the Nets have regrouped.
“The NBA has done an extremely good job of allowing us to be here, providing us this sort of environment where we all feel safe and comfortable and really to not have a lot of cases or a lot of distractions for that matter,” Harris said. “We’ve been able to run a pretty clean ship up to this point, and hopefully we can continue through the starts of these games and into the playoffs.”
While in quarantine in Disney World, guard Garrett Temple said the focus has been more on social issues than the virus. “We haven’t talked about COVID much at all,” Temple said. “We’ve talked about Breonna Taylor, Black Lives Matter, things that we see as things that need to be changed. Bringing Breonna Taylor’s killers to justice, things of that nature. The NBA has done a great job of keeping us safe in the bubble. Guys are following protocols, so, we’re fine.”
Vaughn said he plans to read a book called “Stamped” that examines issues surrounding racism, and he has worked to lead discussion about social issues off the court. “It’s an ongoing discussion that continues to be at the forefront of how we live in today’s world,” Vaughn said. “It’s my responsibility to continue to have it as an active conversation, whether it is a one-on-one conversation with the individual or presenting something to the group.”
Harris praised the job Vaughn is doing, and he said the environment on the Disney World campus has been conducive to players engaging in discussions about social issues. “We’ve been fortunate to be in a position where we have a lot of opportunities, resources available to us,” Harris said. “The other day, we were on a call with a number of WNBA players with Michelle Obama talking about the importance of voting.
“There were 100-plus people on that call, both NBA and WNBA players. Things of that nature really are spearheading what I think is going to enact real change. I think collectively we’re able to do more together for sure being down here.”
The Nets have been discussing what sort of symbolic social gesture they might make before tipoff against the Magic on Friday afternoon, but they hadn’t settled on a specific plan as of Wednesday afternoon.
“Whatever we do, we’re going to do it as a team and make sure everybody is OK with what we do,” Temple said. “We will do something, and you all will see it when it happens.”