The NBA’s restart in Orlando presents players performing at the highest level of their craft with a new hurdle: isolation. Before teams entered the bubble, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes spoke with Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum about the prospect of spending an extended amount of time in relative seclusion.
When Holmes highlighted that even the shortest stay in the NBA’s Orlando-based bubble would be close to five weeks, McCollum provided a mixed response before explaining that life on the Disney campus would still provide team-friendly social settings.
“I don’t think I’ve processed it,” he [McCollum] finally offered.
“We won’t be able to live the same life we’ve been living pre-quarantine,” he said, “but we’ll still be able to have nice meals together.”
Holmes also spoke with NBPA director of mental health and wellness Dr. William Parham about the difficulties players could face during the NBA’s restart. Parham explained that players, while in isolation, will have more time to dwell on certain aspects of their past.
“When you’re forced to be by yourself and restricted, you have a lot more time in your own head,” said Parham, who helped launch the NBPA’s mental health program in 2018. “That sometimes can give birth to or resurrect old baggage.”
Outside of the obvious negatives, Parham went on to explain that unexpected positives are likely to emerge from Orlando.
“This is a historic event,” Parham said. “It has not been recorded ever. It’s historic for a couple of reasons that there are two pandemics going on. One is COVID-19. The other is racism.”
But for as challenging as this moment is, Parham believes in balancing those concerns with potentially positive outcomes. He cites the phrase “a treasure in every trial” and the concept of “post-traumatic growth.” There are silver linings to be found, he said.
Portland’s eight-game restart schedule runs from July 31 to August 13. The Trail Blazers’ stay in Orlando has the potential to extend further if they manage to claim the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.
Holmes’ feature goes on to detail the steps that the NBA and NBPA have taken to provide mental health resources for players inside the bubble. You can read the full story at ESPN.