On Neutral Courts, N.B.A. Bubble ‘Home’ Teams Still Have an Edge

On Neutral Courts, N.B.A. Bubble ‘Home’ Teams Still Have an Edge

On Neutral Courts, N.B.A. Bubble ‘Home’ Teams Still Have an Edge

On Neutral Courts, N.B.A. Bubble ‘Home’ Teams Still Have an Edge

“He’s one of those guys that loves a challenge,” Peter Feigin, the president of the Bucks, said in a telephone interview. “He’s the calm in the storm.”

Feigin said he sent several other members of his organization to the bubble to assist the league in various capacities.

“For us, it’s a huge advantage because Orlando is sort of a pilot program for so many things,” Feigin said. “Even on facilities management, on sanitation, on testing — all this stuff that might not sound glamorous but will be so useful to understand as we move forward as a league.”

Watson said he began working with the N.B.A. in late March when he was invited to join a committee that met, virtually, three times a week to discuss the league’s plans for a potential restart and how it would both look and sound. Over the coming weeks, as the restart came into sharper focus, all 22 bubble-bound teams sent video graphics they use during games, along with music playlists and instructions that covered nearly everything: player introductions, in-game chants, lighting effects.

Watson arrived at Disney on July 11, then quarantined in his hotel room for a week as he prepared for the long haul. His wife, Katelin, who is home with their two children — Jack, 4, and Emmy, 2 — is very understanding, he said. “Being away from them for three months is tough,” Watson said.

But it is a unique opportunity, he said, and he was honored that the league asked him to help. He compared it to summer league, except with the best players in the world.

“You can hear everything they’re saying,” he said. “It’s just so crazy and interesting.”

The relative silence is most apparent to Watson during timeouts. Normally, he said, timeouts brim with activity: on-court contests for fans, sponsor promotions out on the concourse, quick-hitter musical acts. Bango, the Bucks’ mascot, often hurtles across the court in Milwaukee on a Harley-Davidson at critical late-game junctures.


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