The Phoenix Suns haven’t been the center of attention since the “seven seconds or less” era. This changed for a day, thanks to their heartfelt approach to their first game inside the NBA bubble. Loved ones introduced each Suns player via a series of videos. For both athletes and fans, it was a bright spot during an uncertain time.
This is one step in a series of moves to revitalize perceptions of the Suns, which started with revamped uniforms. A new coach, fresh defense, and some big wins early proved the organization is angling for results. Here’s how a big gesture from the Suns’ front office provided a blueprint for engaging Phoenix players in the bubble.
The NBA’s stringent bubble rules
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Now that the NBA bubble has moved on to the playoffs, viewers are familiar with how games go down in the cordoned-off Orlando space. What fans might not be quite so familiar with is how stringent the restrictions were. These include how long players must idle in the space before games can take place. CBS Sports reports that, from July 7, players who tested negative already awaited play in the bubble.
Players live, eat, exercise, and play only in a handful of designated spaces in Walt Disney World. Teams stay in one of three nearby hotels. Anyone who enters the bubble late must quarantine and test negative for COVID-19 for 48 hours. Players who exit the bubble for any reason must quarantine for up to 10 days and test negative for 48 hours before re-entering. Breaking these rules could lead to major suspensions for players.
NBA players were isolated from family for weeks by the restart
With players in the bubble since July 7, the July 30th seeding games began with players already thoroughly isolated from friends or family. NBC Sports reports that up to four loved ones are allowed to enter the bubble, as long as they follow the same protocol as non-playing staffers. By then, the Suns were wrapping up their time in the bubble.
Thankfully, they didn’t completely lack their families’ ability to share the bubble experience. Per MSN Sports, the Suns crafted a brilliantly unique way to start the bubble the right way. Instead of the traditional arena announcer introducing each player, the organization presented a video clip of every single player’s closest family members introducing them.
The reaction, as seen above, was powerful and emotional. The Suns’ squad hugged, whooped with excitement, and teared up at the sight of loved ones. It’s the kind of good faith sign from their front office that they really do care about their players, and are building something important together even if it won’t pay off directly in 2020.
The reaction to the Phoenix Suns’ innovative home opener
The Suns kept their unique video montage under wraps until its reveal. Other teams didn’t have similar presentations prepared, so it made the Suns the crown jewel of the restart for many. This includes LeBron James, who praised the Suns’ decision to involve family.
ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth admitted she got emotional watching the introductions. One can scroll through the replies to her tweet for ages and not find a single negative word in the bunch. It’s a testament to the power of sports and family. It’s also a reminder that these players make personal sacrifices for their fans.