NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The New Orleans Pelicans will head to Orlando on Wednesday to get ready for the NBA’s restart of the season.
The Pelican’s first game will be held at the ESPN Sports Complex against the Utah Jazz on July 30.
Players are trying their best to stay competitive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately for fans, the Pelicans will not be playing any of their remaining games at the Smoothie King Center as all the teams will travel to Orlando to stay inside what they are calling a bubble for the remainder of the eight game season and throughout the playoffs.
Teams will fly to Orlando where they will immediately board a charter bus and be taken to the Disney World resort. Once there, they will be given a rubber bracelet with a chip that serves as a room key and wallet throughout the hotel. It will also be used to check players in for coronavirus testing.
All the players will be tested upon arrival and will then quarantine in their hotel rooms while they await the results.
As of right now the Pelicans are not guaranteed a playoff spot. They are still sitting three and a half games back from the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
They’ll play each game at a secure facility where masks and social distancing will be required and no fans will be present.
First time all-star Brandon Ingram equated the shutdown this year to a health scare that could have cost him his career in 2019, saying that he can’t wait to get back on the court and make a run.
“Well, I mean, I don’t look at it as if I had a choice of going or not. I think my teammates knew that I didn’t want to sit or anything. I just wanted to play basketball at the end of the day,” says Ingram. “I think, like I always go back to, me being hurt made me want to come out and play basketball all the time.”
“It’s definitely going to be different. I love the fans here in New Orleans. They always show so much love. They always come out and support us. So it is going to be something different,” says Zion Williamson.
Some players are also voicing some frustrations on a person level as the country is in the midst of a social change with protests over racial injustice. Some Pelicans players have said they have mixed feelings about the restart because they don’t want to distract from the much larger, more important message.