The Iso: Napheesa Collier


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’ve known since January that this thing was really serious. I was in China for the winter basketball season when the outbreak hit. It was crazy because, at the time, it was really only being reported there — the virus didn’t seem to be anywhere else. The season got canceled, and the Chinese government started shutting things down and quarantining cities. That’s when I got the sense that I should probably get out of there. I’d been keeping up with it in the news ever since, trying to track it, see what was going on. And then it finally made its way here in a big way.

I’m in Saint Charles, Missouri, with my fiancé, Alex. It’s a suburb of St. Louis, about 45 minutes from the city. There’s a lot of land and space. We actually have a sunroom where we can get outside, so it’s nice. And I have my mini goldendoodle. I take her on walks around our little cul-de-sac, to get her moving. She’s getting a little chubby. She’s just a puppy, so she’s not fully house-trained. We’ve been working on that. That’s been a full-time job so far.

My parents are doing O.K., thankfully. They’re quarantined away from us. My dad actually had corona, so he was feeling pretty bad for a while. He had some of the symptoms, like the fever and shortness of breath, but they weren’t so severe that he had to be in the hospital. He’s doing really well now. We’re grateful.

I wake up, get a little breakfast, and usually head to a nearby church with Alex to get a basketball workout in. Alex usually trains players here, so we have access to a church with a gym in it, and right now, we’re the only people that can go in there. We get a workout in, and then we’ll come home and do an at-home workout. I usually spend the rest of the day watching Netflix or reading, or something.

Kind of a guilty pleasure, but I’m watching Hell’s Kitchen. I don’t know why I started watching it, but I can’t stop. I watch it all the time. It’s not even like I’m super into cooking. But the show is just addicting. First of all, it’s amazing what they can do, and Gordon Ramsay is just so crazy. It’s so fun to watch. I’m watching Ozark, too, and definitely looking for new shows all of the time.

I started a virtual book club — Phee’s Book Club — for all of the people like me who need some quarantine entertainment. (Quarantainment? Sorry, I went for it.) I’ve been posting about it on my IG, @napheesa24, so that’s where you can keep up. We’re currently reading An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. I really like mysteries, so I wanted the first book to be a mystery, for sure. Not sure what’s next yet. Gotta figure that out soon….

I ordered a keyboard so I could try to teach myself piano. I’m pretty into music, generally, though nothing specific. I know everyone says this, but I truly like all kinds of music. Even country. I’m not a huge country fan, but I’ve actually started to like it more than I used to. I have a lot of different genres on my phone. Older stuff — I really like Queen. It’s hard to find new music because usually I get it from my friends. But obviously I’m not seeing them right now, so I’ve been on like Apple browse or whatever, just listening to the daily hits.

Napheesa Collier

I usually listen to some Drake when I train. I do the Drizzy station, or me and Alex will put on 2000s hip-hop and R & B throwbacks, get some Usher going. Usher might not be the best workout music actually, but it’s still pretty good — fun to have on any time.

We’re also watching out for our mental health, which is important. Alex has a meditation app that he uses. He’s trying to get me into it, but I guess I’m a little stubborn. We play games every day, just to try to have some fun. We do puzzles, things like that. I go on walks, and we keep our routine. That helps keep the crazy in check, I think.

Everything is temporary. That’s the mantra I use to get myself through hard practices, and the same idea can help us get through this tough period. Eventually it’s going to end, you just have to push through. You really just have to take it a little bit at a time — if you look at the full picture, it can seem daunting. But if you just take it one day at a time and stick to your routine, it’s just way easier to handle everything.