Without context, the NBA season unfolding in sunny, majestic Walt Disney World seems like the epitome of pure fun and entertainment. But in the backdrop of coronavirus, this situation turns from quite fun to quite eerie.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the league is viewing the Orlando, Florida tourist attraction as a legitimate option to hold the remainder of the season should conditions improve enough for play to continue.
Keith Smith of Yahoo! Sports brought this up as a realistic possibility a couple weeks ago, making the point that Disney World would effectively sequester the league and fulfill all the required needs in one individual enclosed location. Places to play? Available at Disney. Places to stay? Available at Disney. Smith also noted that because it's a completely private property, the park and resort could "create a bubble by closing off streets and denying access to any area" they deemed appropriate.
However, a total bubble isn't possible wherever you go. In order to get supplies like food, masks and more, you'll need to import them somehow. As magical as Walt Disney World is, you can't magically generate that stuff without bringing it in from the outside world. But, all things considered, a private property like Disney World is more isolated than options like Las Vegas. Though the league would be "isolated" and kept within a small boundary in any of those cases, there's still a bustling public surrounding the league in those locations.
Testing is another important step in the plan, but Smith additionally noted that sports have been deemed essential by the state of Florida, meaning the league could be a priority for testing kits -- whether that's a good thing or not regarding the greater health of the public is another debate.
Another factor is that Disney World is no stranger to basketball. The NBA has already infiltrated the walls of amusement park with the interactive "NBA Experience" exhibit, meaning it's likely the two parties could comfortably engage in talks with prior business experience. The Orlando Invitational, a preseason college basketball tournament held annually, takes place at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, so the equipment is available.
But many questions remain.
Would Disney World be able to accommodate the players' and coaches' families? Would an isolated property be the best option given the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak? And will testing even be available to the point where this can be a realistic option?