It was the survival of the fittest inside the Orlando bubble. Ultimately, the Los Angeles Lakers came out as the last men standing after over three months on the arduous calendar. This championship tested players’ ability to control their minds more than anything else.
Ever since the players entered the bubble, news began surfacing around the poor quality of food, players seeking leave for personal reasons, some missing their families, and a few others landing into protocol troubles. The Lakers and the Heat were those two teams that spent the most time in the bubble. So how was it for the champion squad?
Recently, Jared Dudley sat down for a podcast where he frankly spoke about his feelings after leave the bubble. He said, “Man, I hope you guys have seen the pictures. Me, Kuzma, Bron, AD, we get off the plane, we walk down, get a Shawshank Redemption. [We] get out of prison and there’s [indiscernible]. To get out, the air felt different. We’re sitting there for a minute, just soaking in, just being there, being outside man. I’ve never been to prison. I’m not saying it was like prison, but you felt like you’re isolated from the world, getting out there was… and we had to be a champion and had the trophy.”
When asked at what point the bubble became too heavy to handle, Jared replied, “It got off to a wacky start. The hotel wasn’t prepared for that many people. When it came to the food, like, the food was awful early on the days… the type of food they had. Our chefs were not allowed in the first couple of weeks. The room service was only available 5 pm on. So if you hadn’t had your meal, you literally had nothing to eat. So guys would eat protein bars, Bron’s eating peanut butter, jelly. Yo I can’t do this. And the food got better, chefs got back in there. Disney picked it up, they opened up a restaurant they everyone loved. And then by like Week 7 or 8, it was like man, how many more weeks we have?! So that’s why people say it’s the hardest championship.”
The way Jared accurately noted “95 days” in the bubble proved that they were counting their days. Just imagine LeBron James gaining all that energy to score triple-doubles by consuming peanut butter in snack time. The Bubble surely pushed the stars out of their comfort zones in the initial few weeks. However, the championship victory must’ve eased every hardship and made the sacrifices worth it.
In the Shawshank Redemption, the world saw how a man lived inside a brutal prison for 19 long years, adapting to a new life, and then eventually finding his freedom. One can’t compare the bubble experience to that, but yes, it surely came with its own challenges. The NBA players are used to glitter, city life, luxurious gyms, entertaining day-offs, lavish parties, and exotic food. So for this bunch, it was most definitely tough. However, the league did an outstanding job in running and winding up the season very successfully amidst such tough circumstances.
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