It’s been 24 hours since NBA and WNBA players reported to their respective bubbles, and I take no joy in telling you that the bubbles are a mess. Okay, so that might be a little harsh — it’s not so much that the bubbles are a mess and more that players are having WILDLY different experiences depending on their team, location, and personal needs.
One would assume with less people to cater to and no general public it would be a breeze to give elite athletes world class treatment. Alas, that isn’t happening for all of them. Food seems to be the biggest issue so far. The first night meal served to the majority of the league was Fyre Fest worthy.
On the other end of the spectrum we have LeBron James and the Lakers, who somehow managed to get a gourmet, delicious looking sushi dinner while the rest of the league ate a tray of food that looked like it was hastily thrown together at a rest stop.
It’s good to be the king, I guess. But aside from laughing at the disparity in food quality there’s something far worse happening for Diamond DeShields of the Chicago Sky. DeShields says she has repeatedly told the WNBA that she doesn’t eat meat, yet non-vegetarian meals keep being sent to her room. As a result she’s stuck eating the same thing every day from the hotel bar while waiting to hear back from the league on how it will handle the issue. DeShields said the league asked players to fill out a card with their dietary restrictions on it prior to heading to Orlando, but that information isn’t being heeded.
So far there haven’t been any complaints from NBA players about the quality of their rooms themselves, but in the WNBA it’s pretty, pretty bad. Some players are saying their rooms are fine, or of high quality — but other images have emerged showing that some atrocious conditions including dead worms, bed bug traps, and a laundry facility that looks like a Saw-themed escape room.
Organizing massive events like this on the fly is difficult, but it shouldn’t be this difficult. The most basic needs of players are being met, but these are athletes risking their health in order to resume play. Considering the circumstances it should be easy enough to at least give them the same level of service and comfort anyone would get at a hotel. Alas, that isn’t happening for everyone.