As professional sports return to action with strict testing protocols made possible by abundant supplies and quick turnaround times, many have questioned whether it’s ethical for leagues to be afforded better access than much of the American public.
Seemingly in response, the NBA – through its NBA Together campaign – will provide free tests in Orlando, Fla., where its bubble season is based.
NBA Together is a “global community and social engagement campaign that aims to support, engage, educate and inspire youth, families, and fans in response to the coronavirus pandemic.” It does so by sharing health and safety information digitally through four pillars: Know the Facts, Acts of Caring, #NBATogetherLive and Expand Your Community.
“Public health data has made clear that the impacts of the coronavirus are most concentrated in historically marginalized communities of color where access to testing is scarce,” the NBA said. “To meet this need, the NBA collaborated with UnidosUS and the National Urban League as well as several private laboratories to identify communities most in need and provide access to no-cost testing programs in addition to communicating public health information to community members.”
In partnership with BioReference Laboratories, which provides tests for NBA personnel at the bubble campus, the league is setting a mobile testing site at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. Interested parties can schedule appointments online.
The NBA also said in its announcement that earlier in July, it identified Federally Qualified Health Centers in 29 team markets across the nation and provided thousands of additional tests. The league, along with the Orlando Magic and Orlando Sports & Entertainment District, already hosted a pop-up testing event on July 11, providing “hundreds of drive-through and walk-up tests to members of surrounding communities.”
Florida is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, for the second consecutive day, the state broke its record of COVID-19 deaths reported with 216 – Orange County, home to Orlando, has surpassed 200 total deaths.
The NBA’s restarted 2019-20 season tips off Thursday night, though players arrived in Orlando in early July.