The Players’ Tribune is introducing a new series called The Iso. With so many of us keeping our distance from each other in a variety of ways, we decided to ask some of our favorite athletes to share how they’ve been dealing with life in the Covid-19 world, and how they’re spending their time away from their sport.
Me and my wife, Brandy, we went through Katrina, so we know what it’s like to lose everything. To have to start over and to need help from others.
Actually, this is easier if she tells this story with me, especially since we’re locked down together — in self-quarantine like everybody else.
Here, I’ll take you back. D.J. and I met in high school, so we been knowing each other for a while….
Yeah, we’ve known each other since we were like 13 years old.
We were dating then — back in 2005, when we were in high school, living in New Orleans. After Katrina, my family moved to Dallas and your family went to Houston. We had lost our homes. NOLA is definitely coming back around, which makes what’s going on right now, with the virus, even more devastating.
We were so young back then that we didn’t grasp what was really going on, in terms of everything our parents were doing to keep our lives going. Now, when we look back, we’re like, How did our parents get through that with us? With kids and just being uprooted, not knowing anyone.
Yeah, we kind of know how to handle things in crisis mode now because of that experience. It’s strange to think that we were high school kids back when that happened, but now we’re the ones who have kids with this going on. It’s funny how things turn.
This time at home definitely will teach us all, as humans, to cherish the things we have, the people we have. You know, family time, quality time — focus on yourself and your family and maybe do things you never had the time to before.
Yeaaah, it’s causing me to be more creative. I wake up and think, What can I do with the kids today? Our kids are up pretty early — I would say 6:30, 7 a.m., so that’s been an adjustment for you.
Things have been a little bit different, because normally, as far as your morning schedule, you’re usually off to the arena to practice by about eight o’clock. With all of us being home now, you’ve definitely been able to do more. You’ve been up making breakfast twice this week, which has been nice. You also barbecued yesterday for the kids — chicken and everything like that. Y’all spent about five or six hours outside, right?
Yeah, and I can tell the kids are pretty excited that I’m not going anywhere. Our daughter, Kailey, always says, “Yaay, Daddy don’t have to go to work!” The kids are pretty excited about the whole situation, and me being home all day. But now that we are not allowed in the arena anymore, I gotta kind of change up, and work out at home — kind of do things differently now. So, we’ll see what that looks like.
Does this change anything for you, D.J., as far as what’s next? We’ve kind of talked about it a little bit….
Well, I’m a free agent this summer. So it kind of makes things … kind of —
Kind of different for us, yeah. Because, we don’t know what’s going to happen with this season, don’t know when next season is gonna start. We don’t know when the draft is going to be, when free agency is going to start. So, this is directly affecting us, as far as my career goes. I know we’re going to have a season next year. I just don’t know what’s going to happen with this season. So, we’re kind of just … going by the day-by-day, watching the news and seeing what we see. It’s just so early and unknown right now, what’s going to happen with the season going forward.
Yeah, we’re still in the early days of it, unfortunately.
Some of my teammates and me, we’re trying to put something together for the Magic — the workers at Amway Center. Also, me and Brandy have been talking about doing something once all of this is over, with our foundation — helping families out directly — picking a group of families or some type of charity to help out. Like once all of this is over, once people can really see what damage has been done to their lives, we can see how we can help.
Right. After Katrina, there was a lot of work to do. To tell you the truth, we didn’t know what we really needed until it was over.
So, we just gonna wait and see how things turn out once everything calms down and gets back to normal, when we can see the full damage this is going to do in our community.
And even before then, if we can.
Overall, we’re good, though. It’s just been tough to see. You listen to the news, and you listen to social media and stuff like that, and it’s kind of like you don’t know what to do. So, I mean, we’ve been doing all of the right things. We’ve been staying away from crowds. Trying to stay inside — it’s tough with kids, though. And just making sure we have everything we need in case something goes wrong. But other than that, that’s pretty much been it. We’re gonna kind of wait and see how things go for the next week or two, and hopefully, something will happen for the better.
The owners, I think they already committed to donating a certain amount of money. We’re trying, as a team, to do something on the side, to see what we can do to help. But in my own life, my wife and I, we gon’ try to see how we can help in the community because that’s where we think we’ll be needed most, once we all adjust to our new normal.