It wasn't your average NBA road trip.
In July, most of the NBA journeyed to the Orlando bubble in an effort to finish the season that was temporarily halted due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the nation -- and the world. The Philadelphia 76ers, just as the rest of the 21 teams eligible to play in the bubble, were set to play eight remaining regular-season games before eventually participating in the playoffs.
And one solid piece off the bench for the Sixers, small forward and shooting guard Glenn Robinson III, had his thoughts on the starkest reality, the bubble, as soon as he and his team touched down from the city of Brotherly Love.
"It was crazy," Robinson III said. "It was indescribable and I tell my friends now like, I'll be able to tell my daughter about this, tell my family about this, I don't know if there will be another bubble. ... They drop off the food, bang on the door. You would get your food out of the boxes. Hopefully, your chicken was cooked. Hopefully, it was good. But after that first week, it seemed to get better."
Robinson III said the experience eventually was incrementally better because there happened to be a barbershop that was built right outside of his door, there were six practice facilities to keep his game sharp and there was even golfing, among many other amenities.
When it was time to handle business, unfortunately, Robinson III suffered a hip pointer amid a scrimmage loss to the OKC Thunder on July 26 after falling on his back, which sidelined him for most of his time in the NBA bubble. He was then diagnosed with an oblique muscle strain just before the Sixers took on the Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Even though Robinson III wasn't able to experience the Celtics with his compatriots, he played enough in the bubble to get a feel of the game.
"Playing-wise, I thought it was like a practice, it was like a scrimmage game, but it made it that much more fun, that much more intense because there was no distractions; it was like no home-court advantage, it was just man versus man, team versus team," Robinson III continued. "I thought it kind of brought out a fun aspect of the game. It was a little easier to play in my opinion."
What wasn't easy was all the precautions that needed to be followed to ensure everyone's safety. Players every day needed to fill out a spreadsheet and answer a questionnaire asking if one had been around COVID-19. Players, of course, were tested each day, one test with a long Q-Tip up the nose, and the other comprising a mouth swab.
What's more, the NBA gave each player a wristband, which really was a room key. The wristband also gave players access to the food room, the arenas, and really just everywhere one wanted to go.
The drawback: the wristband wouldn't work if a player didn't have a coronavirus test or answer a questionnaire for the day. And if players didn't test, they would need to stay in their room or quarantine.
Even with all these new set of standards each and every player needed to abide by, Robinson III trooped through. When practice or games weren't happening, Robinson III stayed in his room, did interviews and promoted The Ari Foundation (Angels Are Real Indeed) -- a 501(c)3 that centers around "empowering fathers and providing resources for fatherless children and families." He also played golf, went swimming, among other activities, and for most of the time when maneuvering to where he needed to go, he would catch NBA superstars like James Harden tossing bags around on campus.
These activities, along with some effort on Robinson III's part, led to good mental acuity in the NBA bubble, which was seemingly the safest place in the world when it comes to protecting people from COVID-19.
"I spent a lot of time last summer really working on myself, finding out who I am, trying to find my purpose, but also I do a meditation every morning, so I meditate for about 20 minutes," Robinson III mentioned. "I'm supposed to do it twice a day. I don't get to do it twice a day sometimes, but I try to do it at least once a day. ... I've been doing that for about a year and a half now. And that really helped with just calming me down, trying to let me stay focused in the moment. ... I really found a lot of benefit in that."
Unfortunately, the Sixers weren't able to benefit from the NBA bubble, eventually losing 4-0 to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs in late August. The early-season inconsistencies portended an expected precipitous drop-off from the NBA's elite, and that was further validated by the Sixers not being able to win a single game in the playoffs. Robinson III, who, along with wing Alec Burk, was traded from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for second-round picks in February, said it was disappointing in losing to a historic rival.
But with the NBA and the player's association agreeing to a Dec. 22 start for the 2020-2021 season, the Sixers will have another shot in a quest to secure their first NBA title since 1983.