The Iso: Jewell Loyd


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.

I can’t really say that I’m quiet anymore. It’s something I’ve always thought about myself, but I’ve learned during this isolation that I kind of like to talk. I like to sit down with people (online — not in person!) and listen to their stories — their backgrounds, where they come from. At a time when the usual connections aren’t possible, it’s good to take a step back and understand what’s really important.

In the WNBA, we don’t really have an off-season. Most of us play overseas year-round to earn extra money. (I play in Europe.) I haven’t had this much time off ever, so I’m taking advantage of it. I’m trying to rest my body and expand my horizons while we’re all going through this.

I like to learn. I’ve been online a lot, taking time to sit down and educate myself on life and people and cultures. We have access to sooo much information. I love documentaries, and with Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, they’re incredibly accessible. There’s no real excuse not to educate yourself. You should do it on your own time, at your own pace. But now is probably the best time to be intellectually curious and explore what’s out there.

Health is our most valuable asset as human beings. Invest in it. You can try to be a billionaire, be the best basketball player — anything — but at the end of the day you need your health and that’s most important. You can’t do anything without your health. And if you look around right now, it’s become clear that you can’t do anything without your neighbor’s health either.

I wake up and activate my mind. I meditate and focus my breathing. Then I wake up my body. I have my stretching routine and Pilates videos that guide me through core exercises. And then I have to have my cup of tea — that’s like my thing now. Tea and news. I get right into checking my emails. I’m also trying to read in the morning, really just doing things to stimulate my brain early on in the day. Having a routine every day is keeping me extremely sane.

Group FaceTime has been very active, very alive. I’ve dedicated a time frame in the middle of my day to calling my friends and family. I highly recommend it.

Kohjiro Kinno/Sports Illustrated/Getty I

My friends send me playlists. I’ve been getting a lot of new music downloaded. (Trying to get my playlists ready for the summer!) In addition to all those documentaries, I’ve been getting into reading — financial books, mostly. I’m actually reading 7 Financial Cheat Codes by Michael A. Huggins. It’s a way for me to branch out and sharpen my mind as a budding investor.

I watched Tiger King…. Everyone was like, “You’ve got to watch Tiger King, you’ve got to watch Tiger King.” So I watched it, and it was definitely a … surprise. That was the first documentary I’ve watched during quarantine where it was just kind of, you know, something to do. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should. (But also, if you haven’t watched it yet, are you even in quarantine?)

I’m never caught slippin’. I’ve always been the kind of person that can prepare for anything. If they announced today that we had a game tomorrow, I got to be ready to at least have the stamina to play a game tomorrow — quarantine or not. So I’m going about my workouts just to keep me ready for anything. Basketball conditioning is something that you can’t really simulate, but with everything else, I’m on top of it — my recovery, and working on my ankle strength and things like that. We don’t always get a chance to really focus in on the details.

I’ve been posting my workouts on social media. I normally post a lot of videos of myself and things like that on my account, but I’m taking this time to give people a sneak peak at my inside scoop. So a lot of the workouts that I’ve posted are things I’ve been doing for months and years, actually. The Seattle Storm have done a great job making sure that we are keeping kids active and posting videos daily to interact with our fans and kind of give them something to do.

Be more vulnerable. During this time I’ve been able to invest more in my relationships. I think with everything going on you kind of realize what is most important to you. For me, the most important things have always been my family and friends, and now I have time to kind of be more vulnerable with them and sit down to talk with them. My phone’s been dying every day because I’m using it so much just talking to people, taking time with people. This is a time to get back to the old-school ways of things and just recommit to who you love and what you love.

I haven’t gone too stir-crazy yet. I’m just stepping back and appreciating the things that were already in front of me.

People need people. It doesn’t matter if you’re the 1% or if you’re poor. You can see that now. We need to all come together to continue working to flatten the curve. We need people. We can’t do anything without humans — we’re the most precious, indecipherable, confusing, inspiring creation on Earth. So hopefully we’re all realizing our value as human beings. Life is nothing to be wasted.