- Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies spent over a month in the NBA bubble.
- Morant told Insider what a typical day looked like, including team meetings in the morning, afternoon film sessions by himself, then games.
- Morant said he thought the NBA did a good job making the bubble safe and that they’ll have learned valuable lessons if they need to create a bubble next season.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies spent 39 days in the NBA bubble, and they still weren’t ready to go home.
The Grizzlies came up just short of making the playoffs, losing a play-in tournament game to the Portland Trail Blazers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. With that, a surprising season was over, and the Grizzlies left the bubble. If winning and making the playoffs meant staying longer, Morant would have been up for it.
“I wouldn’t say I was relieved [to go home,]” Morant told Insider. “I definitely went there to win. So that was my main goal. Obviously, you know, now having a daughter and my fam, I was able to get back and see them. That was a plus for me. But the goal always was to go out there and win.”
Morant, who is promoting his new partnership with sports drink company BodyArmor, broke down his days in the bubble.
“Waking up, eating breakfast, getting ready. We have team meetings in the morning to go over film and the scout. After that, go back to the room,” Morant said. “You can really do whatever you want on those days. I normally get film on whoever I’m guarding and watching them. Then eat lunch and then get ready for the bus. And then after that, it’s straight to the game.”
In their off time, players also frequently played golf, went fishing, or hung out by the pool.
Though some NBA coaches have said they prefer day games in the bubble — less time sitting around — Morant said he was so excited to play basketball again after a four-month layoff for the coronavirus pandemic that he didn’t have a preference.
It might not be the last of the bubble for NBA players. The 2019-20 season is set to end by October 12, with next season tentatively scheduled for December 1. However, with COVID-19 still present in the U.S. and little certainty about what the winter will bring, there is already talk about whether the NBA will have to put together another bubble.
“I feel like they did a good job with the bubble this year,” Morant said. “There wasn’t a lot of people who, once inside the bubble, who got COVID-19. So I felt like it was very safe. They cleaned the gym. They cleaned everywhere. Everybody wore masks. So I felt like the bubble was good.
“Even if we have to play in it, I’m pretty sure that the league knows exactly what to do, and having this first bubble right here probably will help because they can get more feedback on things they need to add.”
The likely Rookie of the Year will now prepare for next season, when he and the Grizzlies hope to take lessons learned from this year — much like the NBA itself — and apply them to next season. He’ll always remember this season as a “wild” one.
“It’s definitely gonna be a a wild moment every time I think about this season,” Morant said.
“I’m pretty sure if you had asked anybody who’s in the league right now at the beginning of the season whether they think they would be ending the season in Orlando in a bubble at Disney, everybody would have said no. So, obviously, you know, that’s something we didn’t expect. It’s surprising, but it’s what we had to do.”