The Iso: Dion Dawkins


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.

A little background on myself: I have a brother who is incarcerated in South Jersey.

I’ve just been thinking, Yo, any virus out there is definitely going to get in that prison from the people that’s coming in and out of work every day. Which means, it’s just going to be a Giant. Infected. Place. My brother has no hope. He’s just sitting there, vulnerable to catching whatever comes through, whether that’s corona or something else. And he might not even know exactly what it is because they don’t have access to all of this info like we do.

He’ll usually call me two times in a day. It’s usually in the morning, or at night around 8:15.

I’m afraid of the uncertainty. This could go on forever because everybody got their own information. People have their own thoughts on the government and conspiracy theories are going around — all this crazy stuff. So, you end up with a lot of people acting like, “Whoa, this is serious, but yeah, it’s not that serious. I’m still going to go out. I’m still going to take my kids to the park. I’m still going to go here, and go there, and try to do that.”

I start my days off, first thing, with my daughter. I have two kids in the house — my daughter, who’s four months old, and my five-year-old nephew, Wayne. My daughter wakes up, she eats, she gets changed, she plays, does her tummy time, then she eats again, and then she sleeps. That’s a full day for her. After I take care of her in the morning, I take care of my nephew. I make sure he showers, eats, and all of that good stuff. It’s like, Wow, I just went from totally being a full-time, professional athlete to a full-time, professional dad.

A couple of times, I picked up my daughter and did that thing where you stretch your arms out in front of you and see how long you can hold her like that (especially without her crying). I think Bruce Lee used to do it with a water jug, and I was like, I wonder if this is really hard. It really is. So, I just leave her right on the ground, in her little play thing.

I’ll go in the backyard, take the hose out and water the grass. I water the trees, too, because it’s a little hotter here in Florida. I ride my bike around the neighborhood. I do some push-ups, do some sit-ups, do little stuff.

Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

I like to color with adult coloring books. I take them out and color for maybe 20–30 minutes, then I’ll get bored, probably eat some cereal, eat a salad, grab a fruit, come back, play a video game, check on the baby and check on my girlfriend.

Wayne is always talking about, “Can we watch YouTube? Can we watch YouTube?” I’ve been coming across a lot of interesting people on YouTube that I didn’t even know existed. There’s basically like kids’ reality TV shows, where they run around the house and play with Nerf guns with their parents. It’s funny how kids really watch other kids play with toys. And they’re very, very interested.

I try to convince Wayne that the old Disney movies are better than the new ones. Every night we watch an old one or a new one, alternating back and forth, and then he has to decide which was better. What’s funny is he likes the older ones, but sometimes the newer ones win. Of course Frozen won, and he likes the new Lion King over the old one. I’m like, Yo, this kid’s crazy. The old Lion King was definitely it. But hey, he has a mind of his own.

I have a deck in my backyard and a pond, so I’m going to order some fishing rods to teach myself how to fish. I think I’m going to order a couple of fishing rods, and cast away and see what I catch. You know, just to kill time.

I have a couple of teammates who are trying to partner up to figure out a way to donate together, which I think is great. But we’re still trying to figure out where is the best place for it to go. We were thinking, Should we put it all into Buffalo, or should we directly target our home communities? I’m from North Jersey — from a place where people would need it. Not saying that any place needs it more, but we’re just trying to figure out which place is best.

I’m staying put. I will be home with the family. I’m not planning on leaving the house too much (except to go for bike rides). And if I order these fishing rods, I’ll be right in the backyard. You’ll probably see me on my Instagram learning how to fish. I’ll just be chilling. But I’m planning on staying in the house until we hear that there’s a cure or that it’s contained.

All any of us can do is try to practice as much social distancing as possible. Take all the recommended precautions just a little bit more serious than you think you need, to be on the safe side. Don’t test the waters, and protect your own. Everybody will be all right if we work together and if we just follow along and practice what we’re all preaching.