Until this strange, star-crossed basketball season is over, Vulture will be semi-regularly checking in on events inside the NBA bubble.
Did you hear that slight popping sound? It’s the sound of the NBA bubble getting slightly more permeable. After the first round of this season’s delayed playoffs, the league will open up the Disney World Green Zone to select groups of non-players for the first time, which has necessitated the creation of a set of hilariously specific rules regarding who is and is not eligible for entry. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, each player will be allowed to bring four guests into the bubble, though they can go over the limit if that would exclude one or more of their children (thus avoiding an uncomfortable Jan Brady situation).
According to the official memo, guests may only be family members or the much-parsed euphemism “established longstanding personal friends.” Who counts as an established long-standing personal friend? For the purposes of the bubble, it’s not someone “the player has not previously met in person or with whom the player has had limited in-person interactions,” or anyone “known by the player only through social media or an intermediary,” thus raising the question of exactly which apps count as “social media.” According to USA Today, “agents, business managers, personal chefs, trainers and tattoo artists” are also not allowed in, though some suspect the truly determined ones will find ways around that.
But the hardest decision will come in terms of tickets. Each player is only allowed one ticket per game to give to a guest — or a second for a child, as long as the child is 32 inches or shorter. (About the size of an 18-month-old.) We’re about to get a quantifiable look at which NBA children really are dad’s favorite.