How safe is the NBA’s proposed Orlando bubble for restarting the 2019-20 season? No one will know for sure until 22 teams move into the Disney property and test it out, but according to Sacramento Kings co-owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé, the parameters put in place by the league will make the bubble concept safer than being at home.
“Nothing is going to be ever a 100 percent foolproof,” Ranadivé told CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen during a recent interview on “Power Lunch”. “When you walk into a grocery store, you’re taking chances. We have a close relationship with Disney’s Bob Iger and I have a high level of confidence that we’re going to be safer in Orlando than most people would be at home.”
A version of the 113-page manual created by the league made its way into the hands of media members on Tuesday. It’s a comprehensive handbook that covers everything from specific dates to how and when players' families can be added to the festivities.
According to Ranadivé, he was part of the process for creating the plan that is about to get set in motion by the league.
“I was part of the sub-committee that shaped how we would come back and I believe that the NBA has really thought this through well,” Ranadive said.
This is a complicated situation. Not only is the coronavirus pandemic a real threat to player and staff safety, but the United States also is in the midst of social outcry following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody.
Protests are going on all over the country. For some players, there is concern that a return of the NBA will distract from the message of those protests and that progress being made toward racial equality in America will be stunted.
According to Ranadivé, the Kings are ready to jump back into the competition.
“Our players, they love to compete, they love to play hoops and they are excited to be there,” Ranadivé said when asked whether any of the Kings players would opt out of the Orlando bubble.
Both Ranadivé and the Kings have been extremely active in the push for social change since ownership of the team changed hands in 2013.
On Wednesday, the franchise announced that they will formally add Juneteenth -- the oldest nationally celebrated holiday that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States -- as a company-wide paid holiday.
They also have partnered with the local Sacramento group “Build. Black. Coalition” to invest in Black youth programs in the area and have launched Team Up For Change with the Milwaukee Bucks to promote conversations and address issues of social injustice.
“We’re blessed to be in a league with leadership and the players, the Kings, where players really do care about those issues,” Ranadivé said. “So from our perspective, they’ve always known that it was bigger than basketball and they are going to use this platform to make the world better.”
From the bubble to the coronavirus pandemic to the movement to promote social change, there is a lot on the plate of the NBA and it appears that Ranadivé fully is invested in the process.