Photo Credit: Spectrum Sports

Bubble Not Busted: TBT Proves the Bubble is Effective



We are just a few weeks away from the return of the NBA.


Players and staff have already arrived in Orlando and are preparing for the resumption of the season inside the Walt Disney World bubble. There have already been some reported bumps in the road (which were expected). The players are making the most of getting accustomed to their new life for the next few months.


Photo Credit: ABC13 Houston

Some star players arrived later than their teammates due to previously testing positive for the coronavirus, like Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Nikola Jokic. Michael Beasley sadly had to leave the bubble after recently getting picked up by the Brooklyn Nets; it is still yet to be determined if he will return after quarantine.

Among other things, there are rumors about players snitching on others to a hotline about any wrongdoings. In my opinion, the most bizarre story is about Richaun Holmes of the Sacramento Kings, who accidentally crossed the NBA campus line to pick up food he had ordered to be delivered. Due to crossing the boundaries, he had to leave the bubble and self-quarantine for at least 12 days before returning to his team.

Despite those obstacles, players seem to be enjoying themselves inside the bubble. The players have shared on social media, images, and videos of themselves fishing, playing cards, playing video games, shotgunning beers, and even going through water slides, among other things. Hopefully, they can continue to enjoy themselves while being secluded in Orlando for the remainder of the renewed season. Still, we will have to wait and see, as some of them will be there through October.


Perhaps some minor good news for the NBA is a successful bubble for The Basketball Tournament (TBT).


Photo Credit: TBT

Like the NBA, TBT saw its fair share of challenges as well when the tournament started at the beginning of July. Usually having qualifiers that lead up to the big stage tournament in a similar format of the College World Series, TBT only had one limited competition that involved 24 teams and lasted from July 4th-14th.

The organizers decided to make their little bubble in Columbus, Ohio and made sure that everyone arriving at the site had previously tested negative for COVID19. Players, coaches, medical doctors, commentators, sideline reporters, referees, game clock operators, and everyone else inside their bubble was all tested countless times throughout the tournament. If someone received a positive test, they were to pack up their belongings and leave the bubble immediately.


TBT let it be known that they were not taking any chances.


If one person on the team tested positive, the whole team was disqualified and had to leave the bubble immediately. Unfortunately, that was the case for Eberlein Drive, who were disqualified from their second-round game against Brotherly Love.


Photo Credit: TBT

In more recent years, TBT has become known for its “Elam Ending,” which is how their games finish as opposed to using a regular game clock. After the first dead ball with under four minutes left in the fourth quarter, the game clock gets turned off, and the two teams now play until one of them reaches a target score. For example, if the score is 90-82, the game will end after one of the teams reaches the target score of 98.

The Elam Ending was created in 2017 to create a more natural ending to a game, instead of teams intentionally fouling to stop the clock. Rather than shooting countless free throws, both squads would now strictly focus their strategies on getting defensive stops and scoring on their positions to be the first team to reach the target score. Some people say it is reminiscent of playing pickup, where there are no clocks, and everyone knows that they are trying to be the first team to reach 11.



TBT tested the Elam Ending on a part-time basis in 2017. After receiving positive results and reviews, they implemented the rule for all games starting in 2018.



If the rule sounds familiar to you, it is probably because this is what the NBA used in the 2020 All-Star Game. For those who did not know, they adopted the rule from TBT. NBA Players Association President, Chris Paul (who also is the GM for Team CP3 in the TBT), advised and successfully proposed to NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, to implement the Elam Ending into the All-Star Game.


Photo Credit: CNN

After the tragic and sudden death of Los Angeles Lakers icon and Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, the NBA decided to make a slight adjustment to the rule. The target score became 24 more points than the leading team’s total after the third quarter. At the end of the game, Team LeBron got the close victory over Team Giannis 157-155, in what was the most competitive and entertaining All-Star Game in recent years. It is safe to say that the rule proved to be effective and might be here to stay.

In May, New Zealand’s National Basketball League (NBL) announced that they would be using the Elam Ending for all of their games going into overtime.



Perhaps the NBA could learn a few other things from TBT after they were able to pull off an exciting tournament that always provided for an exhilarating finish all the way up to their championship game.



Photo Credit: TBT

Fourth-ranked Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni) got the hard-fought victory over Cinderella-story, 22nd ranked Sideline Cancer, 78-73. Travis Diener, who is the veteran leader and heart and soul of the team, knocked down the clutch three-pointer to clinch the title and win the $1 million prize for the Golden Eagles. Darius Johnson-Odom took home the tournament MVP honors. Johnson-Odom was a second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and spent some time in the league playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers before playing professionally in Italy, where he plays currently.

TBT not only showed that the bubble could be effective but it also successfully provided fans across the country the opportunity to watch professional basketball once again.


The NBA season is set to resume on July 30.


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Isaiah Torres

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24

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