Hello again, and you guessed it, we’re back here already for another edition of NBA Self-ISO Watch because time has begun to slip its tethers and lose its sharp edges like a piece of sea glass. I’m not sure what your past week has looked like, but it has no doubt had its moments of anxiety, stress, and regular boredom, all of it coming to a slow boil with you as the frog hanging out in the pot. What I mean is that it feels weird to normalize moments that are the exact opposite, but it’s also important to your sanity and overall well-being.
The good news is you aren’t alone. NBA players are doing the same thing, navigating the days as best they can to stave off boredom in isolation as much as malaise and, like, the extremely normal amount of unease we’re all feeling. Also like you (I’m guessing), some of them have picked up new hobbies to fill the time. Let’s explore those along with everything else because remember, if you’re adhering to the advice of medical professionals and staying home, there is no wrong way to spend a pandemic.
When we last checked in on LeBron, he was desperate to find somebody to sip a midday vino with. Up until a week ago, that might have been something he had more in common with somebody’s middle aged aunt “being bad” than the rest of us, but now, we’re all right there with him. This week, James continues to be of the people in turning over a new isolation leaf and getting into mental wellness. James used an IG live feed for meditation, but then did an IG story of the feed to show that he was doing the live meditation, thereby inventing a new practice — meta-tation.
Rating: Unclear if he’s drinking wine alone.
Williams is doing his part to stay safe and COVID-free but raises a good concern: what are the moisturizing regimes that work amid the necessary washing?
Rating: If giant hands are being washed for 20 seconds this often, then you can wash your puny ones with the same length and frequency, no problem.
Tucker is using his time indoors like a lot of us, getting around to that to-do list you never felt like you had enough time for. The main difference probably is that Tucker tidying up his closet means going through hundreds of pairs of shoes in a specialized, temperature controlled subterranean closet and yours is like, how long before dogs start chasing me to wrestle these stinking, years old sneakers off of my feet.
Rating: The construction man emoji is apt because the first thing I thought was I hope he’s got an emergency button down there he can hit should a wall of boxes topple over onto him, defensive player acumen or not.
A lot of dirty laundry is being exposed in this especially fraught time. Politicians that prioritize the markets over people’s welfare, the relatively short runway of many large corporations, general government ineptitude, and Chris Paul’s admittance to never once washing his own clothes until he was professionally and morally mandated not to leave his own home and thereby forced to do so.
Rating: Many, many questions, mostly, especially, how? Please.
Beal did an IG live where he followed his young son, Deuce, around the house. They played arcade games, climbed into Beal’s car and sat in the driveway with the engine off, just gabbing, then they hit the garage and fired up the bubble machine. Deuce seemed so-so on the bubbles, but Beal really used the moment to both pop and reflect.
Rating: We could all use these moments to pop and reflect, pop and reflect.
The glimpses Ibaka’s been giving into his own personal quarantine, now almost complete, are like that quote about the abyss staring back at you, but in a nice way. The more he shares, the more he’s asking for people to engage and interact with him, kind of gently pleading, the same as the rest of us. Reading books, checking on friends, running up and down the same hallway of your house. Except for calling up Kyle Lowry on a whim, it all seems so relatable.
Rating: For a man who does everything Avec Classe, a pandemic proves no different.
Kuz has found the angles of self-isolation and made them work for himself.
Rating: Does “downstairs” take reservations?
Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms, haven’t been able to smell anything for the last 4 days. Anyone experiencing the same thing?
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) March 22, 2020
Look, it was Gobert who essentially got the league shut down and made a lot of people in the U.S. sit up and pay attention with his hijinks, but also by being one of the first positive cases. Not one to let quarantine slow him down, Gobert broke more COVID news this week when he tweeted that his sense of taste and smell had waned. Later, multiple news outlets and doctors would go on to confirm that a loss of those senses in people were probable signs of COVID-19.
Rating: It might be worth keeping a close eye on Gobert when he stumbles on a cure to this thing by drinking Bordeaux in the shower or something.
Gather round because you’re about to get mind-freaked! Paul Millsap has used his time at home to perfect the ancient, grifting practice of magicianery. What intrigues me most — besides the tricks, which are pretty good — are the outfits Millsap is sporting to pull off his arcane arts. He’s essentially demystifying an entire, peacocking industry that thinks a top hat can never truly be too tall, facial hair never weird enough, nor can there be a surface on which sequins may not be affixed because he’s decided to wear his quarantine clothes the same as the rest of us.
Rating: If Paul Millsap got a Vegas show, it would be trick after trick, no dumb or drawn-out interludes, no assistants, all the house lights would be up and it would be over before 10 p.m. We would all go.
Clarkson has gotten into a different type of magic, more specifically, wizardry.
Rating: When that big, dank floppy hat at Hogwarts mouths off, is that tampering?
Another new hobby revealed this week has been puzzles. Jordan Bell got into a 750 piece of Mickey Mouse begging for Minnie’s forgiveness.
Rating: Reader, we never found out how long it took/could still be taking.
Turner, too, got into puzzles, and uh, seems to be a genius?
Rating: Holding out for Magic Eye puzzles to make a comeback at this rate.
O’Quinn did bring back a Magic Eye adjacent activity, and he got so far that the dude ordering you to twist, bop, pull and surrender your free will is saying things so fast it sounds like a sped-up demon.
Rating: Keep your mind sharp and your sweats on.
Wade has gotten into painting. His first acrylic creation went for $5,000, money that he passed along to charity. But it seems the artistic urge has overcome him completely, and we’ve found him a few times this past week lying in repose, Uggs on, wine nearby, squirting paint onto canvas much like the way Michelangelo went to town on the Sistine.
Rating: The artist is in folks, and so are Uggs this week in self ISO.
The Clippers big man has taken to long, solitary bike rides around his neighborhood. He’s mostly been sticking to sidewalks but will go a little bit daredevil doing no hands in the streets. Taking it easy can still mean thrills; you heard it here and from Harrell.
Rating: Let’s get him a bell though, okay Ballmer?
Larry Nance Jr.
I don’t know what kind of hobby this is, but if you do, could you please let me know? Because Larry seems stoked.
Rating: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Miniature Shred Sesh
Please just note Jimmy’s Dominoes board, on which Jimmy is making his friends play seriously, is a photo of Jimmy himself. Some things in this world are still as they should be.
Rating: Superimpose me gently, superimpose me slowly, over an undulating American flag on a Dominoes board in Jimmy Butler’s backyard. I have never been loved like this before.
CJ got into cooking, and the Old Spice robe got into your head, forever.
Rating: We’re all trying.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardaway Jr. continues to handle self ISO in the chillest of ways, with the cutest of company. If he set up an IG live of this, I would absolutely tune in 24/7.
Rating: If the NBA is concerned about revenue loss, might I suggest marketing, ASM(THJ)R?
Hassan Whiteside is getting a lot done during what he keeps calling quarantine but is more like the time he is spending away from basketball because he keeps going outside and is also around some people. He met a horse, pretended he met himself, and blocked a baby a few times from an easy bucket.
Rating: Good to stay busy, much better to please do it inside and/or alone.
Frye has taken up fly fishing.
Rating: Heart rate went down just looking at this.
Hart has taken up the old adage and added a twist, letting a sleeping dog lie but then also extending, gently, its tongue as far as you can while it does so.
Rating: Try this at home only if the dog there trusts you implicitly.
Big KAT had Juancho Hernangomez over for air hockey.
Rating: I like the sweatsuit, and I like how far away they are from one another.
Waiters laced up his roller skates and went zipping and spinning and sashaying and swanning around the inside of his house and its many, many long hallways that seem especially designed for roller skating indoors. So, good coincidence there.
Rating: Dion’s got a brand new pair of roller skates/The Lakers got a brand new 3.
Mills called up Boris Diaw, Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter for a very cute coffee.
Rating: This photo is like latte art for your heart. Just a bunch of melting foam all around it.
Trae Young started a new career as a Posturepedic mattress.
Rating: Promo code NBASELFISO for 20% off your next Trae.
It’s tough to feel bad that a guy can’t get a decent cut in quarantine when he posts about it with nothing but gently billowing palm trees as a backdrop.
Rating: Long hair don’t care. That’s what we’re doing now.
In case you weren’t aware, Mario Hezonja is spending his self isolation at the Palace of Versailles, but he’s been kind enough to toss us the strong muscle arm good work emoji here and there, when we need it most.
Rating: “It is legal because I wish it” – Louis XIV and Mario Hezonja on illegal screen from now on, probably.
The soft spot I have in my heart for Paul Pierce is as baffling to some as it is infuriating to many, but let no one every say the man did not take things extremely, somehow, too far and too seriously, when he brought a gas mask to work this week.
Rating: The Truth is, this is a lot, Paul.
BONUS: WEIRD TOILET PAPER SOCCER BALL CHALLENGE, OTHER TRENDS
You’ll remember back to last week when the trend of knocking around a roll of toilet paper like a soccer ball first emerged. Well, the trend has being going strong but now, finally, a punk’d style twist.
Of course it was none other than the humanitarian of humor and kindness, JaVale McGee, who bestowed a gentle break upon us, all the plebs out here watching our dwindling rolls and then watching famous athletes kick them into pools. The person McGee nominated did not disappoint,
Even though you get the sense that Serge Ibaka could have kept the real thing going long, long after this trend had run its course and toilet paper was restocked and plentiful everywhere.
Another trend that emerged this past week was the push-up challenge. It went like this: you did a video of yourself doing push-ups and then you challenged a “friend” to do the same.
Strongest man alive, Rudy Gay, did the challenge with each of his children on his back, one at a time. So many more players did this, but only one was brave enough to refuse the call.
Tobias Harris, hero.