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.
It’s Day 3 for me. Wednesday.
I opened my eyes, and I wanted to write. That’s how my mornings go. I didn’t have my notebook, so I went down to the car to grab my backpack. I also had a Whole Foods delivery, so on my way back up I went by the front desk and grabbed it. When I got back to my apartment, I had a call from the company that manages my building: “We’ve been reading the reports, and we know four players have gotten the coronavirus from the Nets. Would you mind not coming to the lobby.” How am I getting out of the building if I can’t go through the lobby?
I went under self-quarantine two days ago. I decided to stay at my apartment in New York. I was thinking about going back to Michigan, but it’s probably in my family’s best interest if I stay here, you know? It just wasn’t worth it, what with traveling, the risk of getting sick, and then possibly getting my grandmother sick — since older people, with immune systems that are not as strong, are the ones who are most affected by corona. So that was my fear.
It wouldn’t be exactly right to say it feels like the off-season. It’s weird because … it’s like it’s the off-season, as far as our doing nothing. But mentally? It’s not the off-season because there’s so much going on with the virus.
I’m reading Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson. This guy George Jackson was a petty criminal who had moved when he was a kid from Chicago to California. While in prison for armed robbery, he became self-aware, teaching himself about politics and the world in general. He became an activist for prison reform and was eventually killed during an escape attempt by guards at San Quentin.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who are locked up right now. Growing up, having my dad and different family members and friends go to prison, and hearing from them about the conditions there. Even before this virus, there was a prison in Alabama where the prisoners were dying just because of the conditions, just maybe a month ago. So, just from that standpoint, and knowing like even now that there are people that’s on the street — I’m talking people not in prison — that can’t get tested. What are those prisoners gonna do that’s treated like second-, third-, fourth-class citizens that don’t have most of their rights? It gives me anxiety just thinking about those people because, wrong or not, they’re still human beings.
I’m hitting up my friends in the group chat. I have different group chats going (some I already had) where now the conversation is about corona and the restaurants shutting down and possibly the whole state getting quarantined. I got group chats with friends talking about other stuff, random stuff … like the new Jay Electronica album. To be honest, I love it. I’m a big Jay-Z fan — like a lot of people — and I’m also a Jay Electronica fan. I’m like everybody else: I been waiting for him to drop music. I think it’s different than what’s out right now, and just from that standpoint I think it’s refreshing. I been playing it since it dropped.
I meditated for the first time in a long time. This morning, after the lobby incident, I just sat down and did it. Whatever you believe in, whatever your religion or spiritual beliefs, I think people need to double down right now on things like that, and look within.
I’m reconnecting with art. I had a good conversation with this guy named Elliot Perry, who’s a former player — retired a while ago, and he’s actually a minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. We had this good phone call about art. He’s a big art collector, and I’ve been diving into that world a lot the last few years. So, I was just on the phone with him talking about his thoughts on art appreciation. It’s kind of refreshing to have somebody who played in the NBA, and is still in the NBA as an owner, share that kind of knowledge with me.
My 11-year-old daughter continues to humiliate me in Fortnite. I play the game with my daughter and her lil cousin. I’m a basketball player, so I have a bit of a competitive nature. I had got shot in the game, and I needed one of them to revive me. They both was like, “I’m taking all the loot!” They was getting all the stuff and I’m like, “Can somebody please revive me?” I’m on the headphones laughing with them. Little-kid jokes are so simple. Like anything makes them laugh, so that definitely makes my heart happy.
I’m good. My family is good. And I hope the same for you. When we, as players, see people like Blake Griffin or Zion or Kevin Love — we all look at their pledges to donate to arena workers as definitely admirable. And of course you got people on social media saying, “This player should be doing more.” You got some guys like, “The players shouldn’t be doing this. The owners should be doing this because they have billions.” I just feel like everybody should chip in — it doesn’t even have to be financial. It could be financial, or, if money is an issue, it could be by just keeping yourself sanitized. Everybody can play a part.