Living life in the NBA bubble

Beyond hoops, playing and living in seclusion has tested the basketball teams gathering en masse in Orlando. The NBA playoffs are slated to begin next week.

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Sports

August 14, 2020 - 3:09 PM

Lakers star LeBron James, while wearing his MagicBand, stretches before a game in the NBA bubble in Orlando. (Tania Ganguli/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

ORLANDO, Fla. — LeBron James had just finished a 30-minute workout and lay on the court wearing sweatpants just a shade darker than the gray in his beard. From a pocket he pulled out a plastic wristband imprinted with a Lakers logo and the outline of Mickey Mouse.

It’s called a MagicBand. For tourists visiting Walt Disney World, it is a way to get around, pay for things and get into one’s hotel room. For the inhabitants of the NBA’s “bubble,” it’s one of the keys to keeping them safe from the coronavirus.

The MagicBand also serves as a medical tracker, and players, coaches, reporters, referees and NBA officials alike all must wear them any time they are out of their rooms — that and a mask and a credential, except when playing, coaching or exercising.

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