In recent weeks, players have raised a variety of concerns about the plan, including questions about the specifics of the health and safety protocol, doubts about quality of life on the campus and a rising sentiment that basketball’s return could distract from ongoing social justice protests. The memo and handbook sought to pitch the benefits of the Disney properties and facilities, while Spruell noted the NBA’s goals for the restart include “combating systemic racism, expanding educational and economic opportunities across the Black community, enacting meaningful police and criminal justice reform and promoting greater civic engagement.”
Upon arrival at the campus, all staff and players will be placed into an in-room quarantine for 36 hours after undergoing two separate coronavirus tests. While on campus, players will be required to maintain at least six feet of social distance and wear masks unless they are eating, in their own rooms, outside and socially distant or actively engaged in basketball activities. Everyone on campus will also be “prohibited from entering another person’s sleeping room due to limited space, smaller volume of air, and less frequent cleaning.”
Each team will be limited to a 35-member travel party to include players (up to 17), coaches and other mandatory representatives, such as a trainer, a strength coach, an equipment manager, a security official and a senior basketball representative. To pool resources and limit the number of attendees, the NBA will make available physicians, a mental health professional and shared public relations staffers on campus.
The 22 invited teams will compete at three basketball facilities on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex — the Arena, the Visa Athletic Center and HP Fieldhouse — and use seven practice facilities, which will be outfitted with four baskets, a weight room and a training room, reserving the spaces in a three-hour block each day. Because the practice facilities are shared, they will be cleaned before and after every session.
Teams will be housed at three hotels spread across Disney World’s sprawling property. The current top four seeds in each conference will stay at the Gran Destino Tower, the bottom four playoff seeds will use the Gran Floridian, and the six remaining teams, including the Washington Wizards, will live at the Yacht Club.
Within those hotels, each team will have access to its own training room, a TV-equipped meeting room for video review and a “flex space” for socializing and other meetings. Each hotel will also have an indoor “players-only lounge” equipped with table tennis and video games and an outdoor space for card games and other social activities.
While any player or staffer who leaves the campus without approval would be subject to a 10-day quarantine period as a preventive measure, all campus residents will have access to golf, bowling, boating, tennis courts, a pool and running trails, as well as other entertainment options like movie screenings and DJ sets through a concierge service.
They will receive at least three meals a day from Disney chefs and will be able to dine at restaurants at their hotels, which will be limited to 50 percent capacity. Players will also have access to barbers, hair braiders, manicurists and pedicurists, as well as mail and laundry services, and they would be allowed to make arrangements for meal deliveries from their personal chefs at their own expense.
Teams would arrive at the campus no later than July 9, and games would commence July 30. Each team would play eight regular season games, meaning they would be on campus for more than a month. After those seeding games were completed, play-in games for the eighth seed would take place Aug. 15 and 16 before the standard 16-team playoffs begin Aug. 17.
The last two teams would be kept in isolation for roughly three months, given that the NBA Finals would begin Sept. 30 and could run through Oct. 13. Each player on a team that advances past the first round of the playoffs would be permitted to reserve a guest room for family members to live on campus.