To: Confused NBA players
From: A concerned onlooker
I know, this lockout has given you a whole new outlook on life. Options are aplenty and without a job, you might be a bit uneasy about not having a set schedule and all. I realize you might lack direction when you wake up each day. Free time might be good, especially since you’ve been busting your butt for the last few years, but that free time also opens the possibilities of picking up bad habits. Will you take advantage of your uncertain days, or will you be sucked into a vacuum of bad choices that leads to regret once the season finally gets underway?
I feel like a dentist giving you this list of dos and don’ts, but I’m worried you don’t know what to do without basketball.
Do: Play in China or Europe
If you’re going to risk injury, and thus, your NBA contract, then at least risk it by staying in shape and playing basketball. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kobe Bryant and Amar’e Stoudemire are reportedly interested in touring China in an NBA player exhibition tour. If you’re a lesser-known player, the other option would be to say “screw it” and sign a European contract.
Don’t: Think Dunkin’ Donuts is basketball related
Boris Diaws be warned. No matter the appetite and no matter how much you want to indulge in the best foods this fine Earth has to offer, don’t lay around the house and eat carb-heavy items like donuts. Cinnamon rolls are delicious, but if you’re cramming them down with a 64 oz. soda from 7-Eleven on the daily, well, you’ll pay the price.
Do: Rest and recover
If your name rhymes with Tobe Tyrant or Devin Barnett, it’s fair if you’re taking an extended break. The mileage on your bodies have taken its toll, so get yourself a nice La-Z-Boy and maybe some platelet-rich plasma surgery on your knee. Of course your semi-insane work ethic will eventually take over and get you back on the floor; there’s no need to worry that you’ll sit out too long.
Not because it’s not funny, either. Planking seems harmless enough, but it definitely comes with the risk of injury. Once you start planking on wings of airplanes and Waffle House signs, it’s no longer a game. You could get hurt.
Do: Go back to school
Get your lunch packed up, your boots tied tight. Minnesota Timberwolves forward and No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams told the Los Angeles Times that returning to school is a distinct possibility, as did No. 8 pick Brandon Knight to the Detroit Free Press. This definitely works out, as they’ll be welcome to use their universities’ facilities to stay in shape while working their way to a bachelor’s degree.
Don’t: Change your name to Metta World Peace
Look, Ron, I know that you mean well and this “Don’t” is totally better than drinking Hennessy in the locker room. But for the sake of anyone not referring to you without simultaneously shaking their heads, please don’t change your name.
Do: Hit the gym
This dead period could be key if you’re a fringe NBA player or a guy looking for a breakout year. Call up Tim Grover or whichever personal trainer you prefer. Explain to him that you’ve got a good chunk of time to improve upon your least desirable physical traits. If you’re Eddy Curry and trying to return to a prominent role in the league, get slim and trim. If you’re on the slender side like Hakim Warrick, pack on some pounds to better handle yourself when guarding bigger power forwards.
For sure, none of the above suggestions will keep you in NBA game shape, but at the very least, your body and your mind won’t be shocked if David Stern all of a sudden says he was just joshing ya about the whole “wanting more money” thing.
What do you think are the biggest “Dos” and “Don’ts” of this summer?
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