As NBA teams arrive at Disney, glitches, including food issues, expected

Jeff Zillgitt

As NBA teams arrived Tuesday at the campus-like complex near Orlando, Florida for the league’s restart, some less than appealing photos of food delivered to their rooms have appeared on social media.

Nuggets guard Troy Daniels posted on Instagram a paltry tray of greens, fruit, dinner roll, potato chips and trail mix.

Some Twitter users skewered the meal selection, referencing those sad meals of cheese and bread slices from the failed Fyre Festival in 2017.

Food services should improve as initial quarantines end, but the early photos illustrate a salient point — this is not what NBA players are accustomed to on the road while staying at five-star hotels such as the Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton. Team executives were concerned about accommodations and how hotel space was divided among teams.

There will be glitches and issue to resolve as the NBA and its teams figure out life at Disney.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged, “This is far from an ideal way to finish our season, and it will require tremendous sacrifices from all those involved.”

The NBA meals were more expansive than some of the photos indicated. The Wizards, for example, were delivered a meal with several options, including seafood linguine, steak with chimichurri sauce and chicken with peach BBQ sauce.

Another aspect to consider is that players and staffers are in quarantine and confined to their rooms for 2-3 days until they return two negative COVID-19 tests, according to the NBA’s 113-page health and safety protocols.

The meals are expected to be much different once quarantine ends. For each team, Disney will provide a culinary team “to help create individualized team menus, support team dietary needs, and ensure health and safety guidelines are followed.”

Each team will also have a meal room that is expected to be open 24/7, and players and staffers will be able to order contactless room service via a Disney app. The NBA and Disney are also working to open restaurants on campus for limited capacities.

Once players and staffers clear quarantine, they will be tested daily and teams can conduct group workouts, practices, meetings, conditioning and individual workouts at gyms on the campus. Courts will be cleaned and disinfected between practices and use.

Each team will also have two rooms it can use for meetings and video in addition to a space for eating meals and socializing.

The remaining NBA teams participating in the restart will arrive in the Orlando area Wednesday and Thursday. Scrimmages begin July 22 and seeding games begin July 30.