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The NBA's YouTube generation documents life in Orlando coronavirus bubble

The NBA bubble at Walt Disney World demands a documentary and will surely get its own "30 for 30" one day. But as the action begins to unfolds, it's clear that the players, themselves, will be the primary storytellers.

Why it matters: The most unique sporting event in history (just ahead of every other event this year) will be documented by its participants, making it less of a traditional "sports season" and more of a must-see reality show.


  • The intrigue: Many NBA players already have experience capturing their lives on camera, creating content for social media and building their brands beyond basketball through things like music and eports/livestreaming.

Inside the bubble: Players are finding creative ways to stay busy while they self-quarantine and wait for the season to resume on July 30 — and, like most young people, they're posting everything on social media and getting others involved.

  • 76ers rookie Matisse Thybulle vlogged his trip from Philadelphia to the Orlando, providing a first-person POV of what it's like to arrive in the bubble.
  • Multiple players engaged in a beer shotgun challenge. Miami's Meyers Leonard shotgunned a Coors Light in record time, declaring himself "King of the Bubble."
  • Dallas' Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell, aka DJ Ice-o and DJ Q, hosted a self-quarantine balcony dance party."
  • A Twitter account (@NBABubbleLife) has already been created. Its mission: curate all the player-generate content and "bring the bubble to your timeline."

The big picture: There are a handful of NBA reporters inside the bubble, but they won't be permitted to do most of the things they typically do as reporters (mingle in the locker room, talk to players, overhear conversations, land "scoops").

  • In many ways, they're not there to cover basketball so much as they're there to cover the bubble, itself. How are players adjusting to their bizarre new reality? How is the league is handling health and safety? Things like that.
  • The focus of that coverage will shine even brighter light on the players' off-court personalities, and the inner workings of an NBA team (ya know, the stuff we don't normally get to see until something like "The Last Dance" comes out and blows ours minds).

Israel and Sudan begin normalization process after call with Trump

Sudan and Israel announced today that they will “end the state of belligerence” between them and start the process of normalizing ties.

Driving the news: The announcement came after a phone call hosted by President Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and the head of Sudan's governing council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

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We're all guinea pigs for Tesla's latest self-driving tech

Tesla is beta-testing its latest self-driving technology with a small group of early adopters, a move that alarms experts and makes every road user — including other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists — unwitting subjects in its ongoing safety experiment.

Why it matters: Tesla hailed the limited rollout of its "full self-driving" beta software as a key milestone, but the warnings on the car's touchscreen underscore the risk in using its own customers — rather than trained safety drivers — to validate the technology.

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Trump removes Sudan from state sponsors of terrorism list

President Trump signed Friday an order to remove Sudan from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list, senior U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: Trump’s signature paves the way for the U.S. and Sudan to move forward on a larger deal — which will also include a Sudanese announcement on normalizing its relations with Israel.

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Big Ten football is back

The Big Ten football season kicks off tonight after months of a "will they, won't they" narrative.

The state of play: Each team will play eight regular season games, culminating in a ninth, cross-divisional matchup on Dec. 19 (i.e. the Big Ten Championship, but also No. 2 East vs. No. 2 West, etc.).

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Child care crisis is denting the labor market

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that parents are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and as far as job losses go, mothers and fathers are faring equally poorly.

Why it matters: Economists have been warning for months that the pandemic could do long-term damage to the economy as people remain unemployed for longer stretches of time.

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"This guy": Trump-Biden personal venom was on full display during final debate

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

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Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

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The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

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