The NBA bubble has become a source of intrigue for many, due to the manner in which the league is currently being broadcast to the public.
Several fans tune into everyday vlogs put out by players in the bubble in order to observe this new secluded world where top-level basketball is being played.
The NBA bubble's wine connoisseurs
NBA players have reportedly been ordering wine throughout the day, with league sources claiming that it is one of the most popular items that players order. With the NBA playoffs set to begin soon, all the teams are operating at a high level and this has created a stressful environment for the players.
Along with the usual pressure that comes with being a professional basketball player, these bubble warriors also deal with hours of isolation and scheduled COVID-19 testing. Drinking wine together is seen to be a de-stressing activity in the NBA bubble.
The pioneer behind the move, JJ Redick, said:
"It provides an escape."
The change is going to be institutionalised, with sources from the National Basketball Players Association (NBAPA) mentioning that they will facilitate the delivery of various high-end Italian wines to all NBAPA player representatives as a token of appreciation meant to be shared with their respective teams.
The NBAPA President Chris Paul had also organized a wine tasting, followed by a deluxe dinner, for all the teams in the bubble prior to the scrimmage games.
Sharing is a quintessential part of the wine tasting experience. Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is the only player in the NBA bubble with a fridge exclusively dedicated for wine, and he leads the league in charitable wine donations.
He recently provided wine to the entire staff of the Portland Trail Blazers during Damian Lillard’s NBA bubble birthday and even ordered extra cases for the rest of the team. CJ McCollum spoke about his giving nature:
"If you're in my hotel and you happen to be by the pool, you'll be able to partake in whatever I'm drinking that day."
Sharing is not just limited to teammates, and veterans such as Tobias Harris and JJ Redick have been seen drinking wine with ex-teammates such as Boban Marjanovic, Royce O’Neale, Doug McDermott and T.J. McConnell.
Younger players have recently gotten into the trend as well, with Josh Hart being a notable representative of the NBA bubble wine club.
Josh Hart said that he often misses the comforts that his home had provided him before he entered the NBA bubble, and believes that drinking wine takes him back to his home environment, where he can envision himself playing video games and hanging out with his pet dog and his girlfriend.
JJ Redick has helped younger players such as Hart understand more about wine by introducing them to different brands. Hart had jokingly expressed his inability to purchase these classy brands, stating:
"You've been in the league for 15 years, built up some nice paydays. Burgundy is expensive. I'm still on my rookie deal, my man."
We hope to continue to hear such heartwarming and interesting stories from the NBA bubble.
Published 07 Aug 2020, 00:30 IST