Inside the first basketball bubble, players find different ways to preserve mental health


By: Savannah Deuer

Each player approached the TBT bubble differently

TBT was the first basketball event back since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the uniqnuess of that platform, many were unsure how the process would work. How would pro players adjust to spendng up to14 days in a bubble? 

When players arrived, they were immediately tested and put into quarantine until their negative test result arrived. Many players found that the time in isolation was helpful for their full-time jobs, while others stuck to binge-watching shows and playing video games. 

“I found the time in the bubble to be really helpful for me," said Men of Mackey guard Jon Octeus. “I enjoyed being able to get my work done, and work on self-improvement”.


Once players received their negative test result they were free to socialize in their team rooms.

“The best thing we did while in the bubble was hanging out with my teammates," said Golden Eagles center Luke Fischer. “We bonded a lot over our time at TBT and that gave us great team chemistry headed into the championship game.”

Overall, teams didn't have too much trouble finding ways to stay entertained after practice. Whether it was playing cards, watching game film, or competing in video games, the potential "loneliness" of the bubble never seemed to set in.


But, the biggest focus for Octeus, was focusing on his self-improvement and mental health. 

“You can always learn more things about yourself," he said. “The bubble was a great time for self-reflection and focusing on the importance of being well mentally, and that it’s okay to not be okay.”

Other teams and players echoed these feelings, emphasizing the importance of socializing with their teammates in order to stay mentally healthy. 

“Being able to play cornhole with these guys I played with in college is unbelievable," said Fischer. “This is a once in a lifetime experience, and it truly is something I will never forget”.


With the NBA bubble in full swing, both Fischer and Octeus had some advice for the hoopers down in Orlando.

“Get outside and practice as much as you can," they said. “Really bond with your teammates because this is a very unique experience”.