With the COVID-19 pandemic changing how we do, well, everything, the NBA was forced to come up with a new game plan to finish their 2019-2020 season.
The solution—the much-discussed bubble—saw some 300 players from the league's top 22 teams sequestered in one of three Disney World resorts for up to three months as they strive to be crowned champions of this long, strange season.
But what about the those on the outside feeling as if their bubble had burst? With their partners locked down in Florida, scores of women have been left to navigate work responsibilities, bedtime routines, middle-of-the-night feedings, meal prep and, in some cases, even childbirth without their teammate. And now they're speaking exclusively with E! News about that new normal. These are their basketball diaries.
When the NBA first floated this "bubble" idea, count Callie Rivers Curry among the initial skeptics.
"My first thought, truthfully, was great," the wife of Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry told E! News in an exclusive interview. She figured that Seth and his fellow players could at least earn back a percentage of the salaries they'd lost when the NBA abruptly suspended its season on March 11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"But I truly did not think it was going to work," the mother of 2-year-old daughter Carter Lynn Curry admitted. "I thought he would probably be gone for, like, five days and there would be too many positive tests, and he would be back. But obviously," she added, laughing, "I was wrong."
Next she remembered thinking, "Whatever, it's 57 days, it's not that long."
The Mavs and 21 other teams reported to the bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando in early July.
"Then after the first week," Callie said, "I was like, 'Wow, this is going to be a very long time.'"
A former professional volleyball player who was born into a basketball family (and married into one as well), she understands the dedication it takes to consistently compete at the top of one's game. She's certainly used to Seth's hectic travel schedule during normal NBA seasons. And through her membership in the philanthropic National Basketball Wives Association and work on behalf of the Social Change Fund and the voter-registration campaign I Am a Voter, she knows you've got to really dig in if you want to get a job done right.
Still, while Callie is "extremely thankful for how the NBA has handled it and made it super safe for the guys to be there," telling us that the league has done "an insanely good job" in her view, this is easily the longest her husband has been away from her and their daughter for any one stretch. And he actually could be gone until October should the Mavs advance deeper into the playoffs.
So, adjustments have had to be made. Callie has shared with us how she and Seth have made this bubble business work, whether she and Carter plan to join him once they start allowing a few family members in, and why her situation is a little unique compared to some of the other players' partners who are coping back home.
At least, whether Seth's bubble bursts later this month or the Mavs stay afloat till October, Callie can rest assured that this time apart will end eventually. And they can trade FaceTime in for some of that good old-fashioned just being together.