Jazz center Rudy Gobert
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Rudy Gobert to replace name on jersey with ‘Equality’ as first social justice messages leak

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“Equality” and “Vote” have proven popular among the first social justice messages on the back of NBA player jerseys have been leaked to the public.

The choices of nine NBA players were leaked by Chris Haynes of TNT and Yahoo Sports on Tuesday during Inside the NBA on TNT. Here is the first list:

Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) – “Equality”
CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers) – “Education Reform”
Jusuf Nurkic (Portland Trail Blazers) – ‘Equality”
Kent Bazemore (Sacramento Kings) – “Education Reform”
Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia 76ers) – “Vote”
Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee Bucks) – “Equality”
Meyers Leonard (Miami Heat) – “Equality”
Ivica Zubac (Los Angeles Clippers) – “Enough”
Moe Wagner (Wizards) – “Vote”

The NBA is a multi-billion dollar business, so it wanted to allow for social justice messages on jerseys — but not any social justice message. It had to come from a pre-approved list (read: things that felt “safe” and would not offend the core audience). That did not sit well with players, but everyone is headed to Orlando for the restart for financial reasons, so of course this was a business decision. The list of approved messages is:

Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can’t Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; Mentor.

NBA players will be arriving in Orlando through Thursday as the NBA starts to form its bubble and begin practices.

NBA Orlando restart: What players can expect as they arrive at the bubble

NBA bubble
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Today we start to find out if the NBA can build a bubble on its Walt Disney World campus and play out the end of the season, crowning a champion.

For the next three days, Tuesday through Thursday, teams will be arriving in Orlando and will be taken to the Disney property and the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. There are 113-pages of protocols and regulations laid out by the league — not all of them popular with players, expect some fatigue as the restart wears on — to create this bubble.

Here’s what players can expect, starting today:

ARRIVAL

• Teams will board charter flights from their home market to the Orlando airport, where after they land and go through security they will directly board a chartered bus that will bring them to the Walt Disney World complex. Team arrival dates are:

Tuesday: Brooklyn, Denver, Orlando (no flight), Phoenix, Utah, Washington
Wednesday: Boston, Dallas, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Sacramento
Thursday: Toronto (from Florida), Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Portland, San Antonio

• When they check-in at the hotel, each player will be given a “MagicBand” — a rubber bracelet with a chip that serves as a room key (and wallet, if needed) throughout the hotel. The NBA also will use it to check players in for coronavirus testing.

• Soon after they arrive, players will be tested for the coronavirus. After taking the test (and awaiting results), players must quarantine in their hotel rooms for 24-48 hours until they pass two tests 24 hours apart — they may not be in physical contact with team members, and they will only eat room service meals. Portland’s CJ McCollum had wine shipped from Oregon to his room in Orlando just to pass these 48 hours.

• Once cleared by the initial tests, players will be tested daily for the virus, at least at first, according to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. The NBA’s operations handbook for the restart says players will be tested” regularly.”

• What hotel teams will stay at was determined by seeding. Here is the list of which teams are staying at what hotel.

-Grand Destino: Milwaukee, L.A. Lakers, Toronto, L.A. Clippers, Boston, Denver, Utah, Miami
-Grand Floridian: Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Houston, Indiana, Dallas, Brooklyn, Memphis, Orlando
-Yacht Club: Portland, Sacramento, New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix, Washington

If a lower seed team advances to the conference semi-finals, they likely will be asked to move to the Grand Destino from their hotel (Disney wants to free up those hotels for other guests to the resort).

• All team and league staff — including coaches — will be required to wear a “proximity alarm” that will notify the wearer if he or she spends more than five seconds within six feet of another person who also has the band. The idea is to remind people to social distance. Players will have the option of wearing the alarm band.

• Players also will be given the option to wear the Oura smart ring, which tracks the wearer’s temperature, breathing, and heart rate. The makers says could help indicate if a player has some of the early symptoms of COVID-19 before they realize it, but players are skeptical of wearable technology from the league in general. We will see how many players take the league up on their offer.

LIFE INSIDE THE BUBBLE

• Everyone — players, team staff, Disney employees, probably even Mickey Mouse — will be required to wear a facemask, except when eating, at a workout or practice, in their room, or if they are swimming or doing something more than six feet away from another person (laying out by the pool with nobody around).

• Food will be prepared on site by Disney chefs. Each team has the chance to work with a “culinary team” to design a healthy menu that fits the dietary needs of players. A number of players have private chefs, and they can prepare meals off-site then have those brought into the players.

• Games inside the NBA bubble will take place at one of three facilities:
1)The HP Field House will be the primary game court.
2)The Arena will have a game broadcast court plus has a couple of side practice courts.
3) The Visa Center has a court that can be used for game broadcasts, but this will primarily be a practice facility.
• All three areans have weight and training areas for teams to get in additional work.

• Team hotels will have amenities for players and staff, such as pools, bicycles (there are bike paths), players-only lounge area (with televisions and gaming areas). The hotel will have barbers, manicures and spa services, and more. There also will be movie screenings, some DJ sets, bowling, and other games such as ping pong — just don’t play doubles. Seriously.

• There will be golf available, but no caddies.

• Players can leave the bubble whenever they want. If this is an excused exit for a family emergency — Gordon Hayward and several other players have wives/partners with babies due during the bubble — and players are tested daily while outside the bubble, they face only a four-day quarantine upon return. However, if a player just chooses to leave the bubble without an approved reason, he faces a 14-day quarantine upon his return and will have to have two negative tests. Also, the player will not be paid for any games missed.

• Any team staff that violates the rules of the NBA bubble or leaves the bubble without prior approval will be removed and cannot return to the Disney campus.

WHAT HAPPENS IF/WHEN A PLAYER TESTS POSITIVE

• The NBA has made it clear: Games are not going to stop for a few positive tests

• If a player tests positive inside the NBA bubble, he is immediately be moved to “isolation housing” off the Disney property. That player will spend at least 14 days outside the bubble and must pass two coronavirus tests a dau apart.

• Anyone the infected player came in contact with will face increased testing and will be monitored.

• Teams and the league will more closely monitor and test anyone who was in close proximity to that player between tests.

Chris Bosh says he borrowed, never returned Pat Riley’s 2006 Heat championship ring

Chris Bosh and Heat president Pat Riley
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Heat president Pat Riley famously put his championship rings on the table to recruit LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the summer of 2010. Riley apparently even let Bosh keep Miami’s 2006 championship ring with a challenge: Come here, win your own then return it.

In 2014, Bosh revealed he still had it.

Bosh said he planned to return it after that season. By that time, he had won two titles with the Heat and gotten his own rings. He was still playing for Miami. Returning the 2006 ring didn’t seem urgent.

But Bosh has since retired (initially on harsh terms with the Heat). A decade has passed since Riley loaned Bosh the ring.

And Bosh still has it.

Bosh, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

“Oh, yeah, Pat brought his rings out. It looked just like a Crown Royal bag,” Bosh said. “He puts it down, like boom. Big boy talk. When he ended the meeting, Pat gave me a 2006 Heat championship ring.”

“Take it. Keep it. Give it back to me when you win one,” Riley said to Bosh.

“I still haven’t given it back,” Bosh said. “I wonder if he even remembers that? I think I mentioned it once, like, ‘Yo, do you want that ring back?’ And he said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I kept it moving.”

I wonder whether Bosh actually has Riley’s ring. Organizations commission a lot of rings when they win a title. I wouldn’t be surprised if this were an extra, unassigned ring.

But it wouldn’t be shocking if it were Riley’s, either. Riley – who coached the Lakers to a title in 1985 (and 1982, 1987 and 1988) – doesn’t keep a close eye on his championship rings.

Wright Thompson of ESPN:

Twenty-one years later, in 2006, he mistakenly threw away the ring he won that night, along with all his Lakers rings, the real ones mixed together with dozens of worthless samples for the Heat championship ring he was designing. The company gave him exact replicas, but they felt too shiny, with not enough dents and scratches, so he put them in a bag and beat them against a wall. Instead of adding scars and patina, he just knocked loose a bunch of diamonds. When he got them fixed, he locked the replicas in a safe at home.

Report: NBA sets protocols for teams traveling to Disney World

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NBA teams are scheduled to arrive in Disney World this week.

As the MLS has shown, traveling to the campus is an especially perilous time.

Obviously, NBA players who’ve tested positive for coronavirus and haven’t yet been cleared won’t be able to travel with their teams. But that’s not enough of a limitation.

Malika Andrews of ESPN:

If a player misses a scheduled coronavirus test in the two days prior to the team’s departure date — or has “extenuating circumstances” that have been disclosed to the league — he must arrange his own travel to join his team as the league restarts its season. The player has the option of flying on a charter flight at the player’s expense, traveling by car, or flying commercial, the memo said. If a player flies privately or drives, he will have to have two negative test results before resuming basketball activities. If he flies commercially, the player must have three consecutive negative test results, according to the memo.

When arriving at Disney World, all players must quarantine in their rooms until passing multiple coronavirus tests. But the quarantine – 36-48 hours – isn’t as long as initially reported (two weeks).

There’s a risk a player contracts coronavirus shortly before leaving for Orlando, passes two coronavirus tests upon arrival before the virus incubates then brings coronavirus into the bubble. It’s one of the diciest aspects of the NBA’s plan.

It’s also easy to see how players would resist being stuck in their rooms even longer.

So, taking extra steps to ensure players don’t arrive at Disney World with recently contracted coronavirus is important – and hopefully enough to keep everyone safe.

Report: Third Heat rotation player tests positive for coronavirus

Miami Heat
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Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. tested positive for coronavirus. Then, a second Miami player tested positive.

And now a third.

Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

A third Miami Heat player has tested for positive COVID-19, a league source told the Miami Herald on Saturday.

both are rotation players, according to a source.

Those two players are in quarantine and the expectation is that those two players — and the 15 others on the team — will participate when the NBA resumes the season

Besides the three players, at least one Heat staffer has tested positive, according to a source.

Hopefully, there’s no outbreak within the team. There are plenty of opportunities for individuals to contract coronavirus in Florida. But the possibility of a team-wide outbreak caused the Heat to shut down their facility.

The Heat are scheduled to travel to Disney World on Wednesday. Before players pile into a bus, it will be paramount to assure nobody in the travelling party has coronavirus. This is one of the most dangerous times of the NBA’s restart plan.

If that goes smoothly, Miami can worry about other problems – like three rotation players, at the very least, being delayed in training.