ESPN and ABC NBA analyst Doris Burke is among many who have contracted COVID-19 since the season was suspended on March 11, with the veteran TV and radio voice detailing her battle against the illness, discussing the NBA’s return and more in an interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post.
“The thing that I felt the most was fatigue and headache,” Burke said about having coronavirus. “So for a good stretch of the first two weeks of that, I was just thinking I had a bad flu, because my symptoms were not aligning with what was being told were the main symptoms — the shortness of breath, the pressure on the chest — I didn’t have those scary symptoms. So for a good stretch of time, I didn’t think I had it. But then I finally decided to get tested.
“It took eight days to get the results, and by the time I had gotten the results of the test, I was starting to come out of it. Was I scared? I had some measure of anxiety. I was sleeping 16, 17 hours a day, and the other time I was not getting out of bed, so I wasn’t doing a whole lot.”
Burke tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of March, becoming one of the first publicly-known NBA figures to contract the virus. When asked about the challenges the NBA will face as it attempts to mount a comeback next month, she didn’t mince words.
“It’s a monster of a project to try to get right and put in place,” Burke said. “As I hear players talk about pre-existing conditions or talk about their fears, I absolutely understand it. And one of the things I thought most about is that a lot of these guys have young kids. You’re not only going down to the bubble, but at some point you’re going to leave that bubble, and what do you do as a player if you’re the parent of a young child? Do you go to a hotel when you get back to your respective market, and do you quarantine for two weeks and therefore stay away from your children longer to make sure, “OK, I’m not positive”?
“The primary thought I have as it relates to fear doesn’t necessarily have to do with myself, it has to do more with anybody who’s not been infected, had COVID, recovered and doesn’t have immunity, because I do worry. … As much as I know that the NBA is going to do absolutely everything in their power to make this environment as safe as possible, the fact of the matter is the ultimate bad outcome remains a possibility. There’s inherent risk that everybody who goes down to Orlando assumes, and how you work that out in your own mind is a very personal choice. And I don’t think we should criticize, judge or in any way, shape or form have negative feelings for those who express concern, because it’s legitimate and it’s real.”
Burke also offered her thoughts on several notable figures around the league in the interview, including Gregg Popovich, Mark Jackson and Zion Williamson.
Here are some other notes related to the NBA’s hiatus:
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is advocating for the NBA to keep a permanent schedule change, as detailed by The Dallas Morning News. The league is settling on a late July restart with much of the typical offseason festivities set to happen in October, though next season’s schedule is largely unknown at this time.
- The 88 total seeding games in Orlando will count toward the regular season statistics, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. However, games as of March 11 will be used for any player that has bonuses in their contract.
- Mark Medina of USA Today examines how Disney employees will work inside the NBA’s bubble when the league resumes in Orlando. The first games are set to commence during the final week of July, with the NBA under pressure to ensure that protocols are followed and safety is prioritized.