Before the games begin, the best thing about the NBA’s restart has been Matisse Thybulle’s video chronicling the Philadelphia 76ers rookie’s journey to the league’s billion-dollar bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The former Washington Huskies standout, who majored in communications, captured and edited all the footage for a nine-minute video titled “Welcome To The Bubble” that was uploaded on Saturday to his newly created YouTube channel.
The 23-year-old photography enthusiast, who dabbled in vlogging this summer while quarantined at his Philadelphia apartment, gives a behind-the-scenes look as the NBA opened training camps during a coronavirus pandemic.
The video begins with Thybulle packing his bags and driving to a fast-food restaurant to pick up meals for teammates before boarding a team bus and plane bound for Florida.
“For those that don’t know, part of my job of being a NBA rookie is getting Chick-fil-A for all the players on the plane,” he said. “Even in the state of a pandemic, that job still stands.”
Thybulle also captures the differing personalities of the Sixers’ biggest stars from Tobias Harris playing a DJ rocking to the song “Welcome Back” by rapper Mase to Ben Simmons adjusting his face covering before deadpanning: “You know what time it is baby. It’s go time.”
And there’s also Joel Embiid cracking jokes and having a little fun at the NBA’s COVID-19 testing site.
The final minutes of the video is all Thybulle as he checks into his Grand Floridian Hotel room and unpacks an assortment of snacks and amenities.
“That’s crazy,” he said, spotting a monogrammed pillowcase on his bed that read “MT22.” “That’s when you know you made it.”
Thybulle, in a call with Harris, talked about a plan to do something creative as a team and that they were envious of the Toronto Raptors’ team bus, which is emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter.”
“We’ve gotta do something,” Harris and Thybulle agreed.
A handful of NBA players have complained about their meals inside the bubble, and Thybulle wasn’t overly thrilled with a boxed lunch of grilled chicken and pasta.
“The chicken, is chicken,” he said.
And at the end of the video, Thybulle eschewed unpacking with the exception of a scented candle “to turn this place into a home.”
He also promised more videos in the future.
“So basically there’s way too much stuff to record in one day,” he said. “I’m going to finish going through this stuff tomorrow, and we’ll see what else we got.”
As of Monday, Thybulle’s channel had 47,000 subscribers and his video attracted 220,000 views, including noted filmmaker and YouTube personality Casey Neistat, who has 12 million subscribers.
“This is so good,” Neistat said via Twitter. “A fascinating, intimate look into the life of a NBA rookie. MATISSE, LET’S COLLABORATE!”
Thybulle replied: “Aside from playing basketball again, you just made this whole bubble thing worth it. Let’s figure something out when I’m free!!”