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.
It wasn’t much better in the WNBA, or maybe it’s worse.
this was a meal option served to some WNBA players. i don’t think they would have agreed if this is what was advertised. pic.twitter.com/C9PjykUd3l— Kayla Johnson (@klajohnson) July 7, 2020
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.
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I’ve emailed the HQ here and I’ve reached out and done my part but the response I get is “we will put a note in the system” I don’t want to paint a bad picture of this experience but at this point.... idk what else to do. Idk who else to call. I’ve sent the email, I’ve had my team reach out to to the league, and now it’s 8:30 AM I’ve been here for 2 days and I am missing another meal because of this same problem. I would like to get food that I am actually able to eat orrrrrrrrr my per Diem for these meals like I requested TWO DAYS ago. @wnba I know there are a mountain of issues but this is one that cannot wait or be pushed aside ESPECALLY for the players who stay in the hotel where there is no kitchen or microwave for them to use. So.....yea. lets maybe revisit the dietary restrictions form that we all filled out before we got here and make sure players are getting the proper meals because I know I’m not. I can’t keep eating beyond burgers from the bar everyday SN: this is me sharing some of MY experience I’m not speaking on behalf of everyone here. Nor am I trying to make anyone look bad. I’m just trying to get my $$ and cancel these meals...But yeaaa... off to workout ♂️
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.
just got this video from one of the laundry rooms inside the WNBA “bubble” and couldn’t be more disturbed. this is not ok. pic.twitter.com/6FC10jlcql— Kayla Johnson (@klajohnson) July 7, 2020
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.