BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - The LA Lakers are this year’s National Basketball Association champions and that was only made possible after more than $150 million was invested by the NBA.
The league created the NBA Bubble to get the season done while protecting players and everyone involved and one Blytheville man got to experience it all.
Curtis Johnson IV said it started with an email from the NBA.
“Wow! Did I really just get this email to like go work in the Bubble? I don’t know how many people got the opportunity and you’re one of the people who got to be there," Johnson said.
Born and raised in Blytheville, Johnson works as a team attendant for the Memphis Grizzlies.
After being selected by the NBA, he spent over 90 days 800 miles away at the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Fla.
“Typical day probably you get to the arena, you are going to help offload the equipment. Whatever team you got, say it’s The Heat vs The Pelicans, you help them get all of their equipment in," Johnson said.
He also made sure jerseys were in the correct place, water bottles were labeled, and he caught rebounds for players practicing.
Other than getting tested for COVID-19 daily, Johnson said life inside the bubble was normal.
“My favorite meal was probably the turkey burger that they had. The turkey burger and sweet potatoes fries. I started eating sweet potato fries," Johnson said.
He was also able to get his hair cut and play golf.
Johnson said it all was taken care of by the NBA.
“The NBA paid for everything for us," Johnson said. “I’m grateful for it.”
He has loved the game since he was young, proclaiming Kobe Bryant as his all-time favorite
“I got to see them win the championship, see them hoist the championship trophy up. It was just amazing you know. The only thing for me I wish would have happened; rest his soul… was Kobe was playing and I got to see Kobe play and win the championship," Johnson said.
But, with Lebron and many others dedicating their season to the legend, he says It all comes together.
To the little boys and girls from towns like his, he says these opportunities are available. Just don’t give up.
“Pick something you are passionate about, whether it’s sports, music, drawing. If you want to be an artist; just study it. Try to master it the best you can if you’re trying to go to the next level," Johnson said.
He was able to bring home just a few souvenirs including some NBA masks.
If the NBA decides to do another bubble next season, Johnson wants to be the first one there.