If you get a chance to check out a roomful of people in charge of the N.B.A. Bubble, an insider’s guide to the imaginary arena that is the NBA, you’ll quickly learn that it’s not exactly a bubble of silence. The room’s walls, leaden blue in color, are filled with cellphone conversations and twitter feeds. The room’s walls are rarely dark, depending on the player, coaches, or executives to whom you can reach, given that the bubble owners are not only over 1 million people who employ people whose salaries are $1 million or more a year, but over 6,000 advertisers and 8,200 people who pay $900,000 or more to sit at their opposite ends of the room.
For all its pitfalls—the room is off limits to every member of the media and interested parties—the N.B.A. Bubble is actually an extraordinary source of entertainment, educating and excoriating, because it’s also a vision of the future, if you happen to be on vacation in a region called Manhattan.
“How can you say you’re going to party when everybody’s on Facebook?” Scott Van Gundy said. “What we’re trying to do is articulate how it’s going to end. Let’s get down to football. You can talk about this sport for six days and not talk about the things that we can do in the off-season.
“Real people are weidormating on social media. Their families are watching it; their friends and their coworkers are watching it. Their kids are watching it. Their parents are watching it. So I’ve really embraced them and have taken advantage of it. I started Twitter and Facebook a couple of months ago and have really embraced it. I don’t think any of us do. We have to, because what’s the point?”
It’s a Facebook page, so it isn’t actually “Chatroom,” a cultural phenomenon that finds people talking about their problems and the things they’re doing to try to get to the bottom of things, so the divide between the actual N.B.A. broadcast booth and its boozy fans is mostly metaphorical.