We are a full month into the NBA’s hiatus and technically this column counts as a new measurement of time now. Some other new rules: NBA players making sandwiches count as sports and it is brave to cover it, no one needs a haircut ever again, and pretty much anything counts as self-care.
But earnestly, it’s pretty comforting to see superhuman athletes dealing with a lot of the same things as us normal people (albeit in nicer, more expansive home environments). Getting over the first strange few weeks and figuring out new routines, managing anxieties, missing their friends and family, trying to stay active and productive in whatever way makes sense in the moment. In any case, we’re rolling into the second month of this, it’s bound to get weirder, and I’m grateful to have you along.
Hark! A comforting celestial sign from the cerebral king himself, Kyrie. We didn’t get much other than a couple sparkle emojis, a triangle and an eye (= The Eye of Providence), but the more concerning thing would be if there was a supermoon and we didn’t hear from Irving, so rest easy.
Rating: Do you think Kyrie hears Werewolves of London or Harvest Moon in his head when he looks up at full moons, or do you think he hears the inseparability of clarity and emptiness?
“Wow,” I can hear you saying, unimpressed and not meaning a sincere exclamation of surprise at all, “We’re reporting on sandwiches that Jimmy Butler eats now?”
You know what? Yes, yes we are. You’re eating grilled cheeses, Jimmy Butler is eating grilled cheeses, you probably aren’t tagging a food porn lifestyle account in yours, because your sandwich is functional and Butler’s is like, not something he can tell his friend Mark Wahlberg about, for example, but all that aside, the point is this period in time is highlighting our commonalities over our differences.
Rating: Sandwich wise? Pretty good. At least 4 slices of processed cheese on that thing. Bonus points for a little slice of an Ugg slipper sneaking in bottom left.
The rule when LeBron James catches up to a trend that you all know, thanks to this vital news source, was sweeping the league last week, and he does it while also making a pretty bad dad joke, is that we still have to be happy for him. Because then he graces us with a photo of a glass of rosé balanced atop his knee, staring out at a dad’s universal pride and joy, the yard.
Rating: I also just think, that in this economy, none of us can afford not to be happy for LeBron James.
Doncic set us up for the long con this week. First he posted a TBT of times with a little more freedom of movement, wind whipping in his and his little dog’s haircuts as they squinted their eyes out toward open waters. A little later in the week he graced us again with his face, now quite unkempt, in a public poll on whether he should shave or not. For everyone who thought or voted “Shave” can I just ask you honestly, have you never heard of Tyson Chandler?
Rating: Let the big dog hunt! And by that I mean let the little face hairs grow out.
Continuity is nice in unsettling times. Like creating a new routine, even if you know it’s temporary, to give yourself something to lean on. Another constant you can lean on is that Jordan Clarkson continues to be a mostly topless ray of pure beaming light. This week, Clarkson caved in like so many and got TikTok, but unlike those many, he is pretty good at it. The guy loves to dance! And he loves to do antics.
Rating: Stay safe and shirtless, Jordan.
Hugely wholesome alert. Here’s Conley and one of his very cute sons lying on the floor together. Have you tried this recently? Lying on the floor? Honestly Mike Conley and I cannot recommend it enough.
Rating: Happy? Lie on the floor. Sad? Lie on the floor. Ate too many non-Jimmy Butler grilled cheeses? Lie on the floor.
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Oubre Jr. coming in not hot, but perfectly temperate, ensconced in — count ‘em — four different kinds of fabric. This is a great time to reinvest in naps and Oubre Jr. is here to show you the kind of home squirrel nest you are capable of.
Rating: An NBA All-Nap bracket might actually be a nice thing to normalize the fact that most people are tired all the time because we’re all having trouble sleeping these days, right?
Love has been going heavy on the movie nights and diligently sharing what cinematic delights he’s indulging in. He started with the classics, some Brando, some Criterion, but then veered wildly to what I can only guess is an homage to the cowboy vacation he took last summer, or else a fast-forward ahead to a preview of what Love will look like taking the court around Labor Day.
Rating: Legends of the Early Fall NBA Finals
Hair woes are a big worry this week. For professional basketball players who leave no part of their physical appearance unkempt and also for you, who used to remember to get a haircut when an acquaintance asked if you were “Trying something new”. The good news, for Drummond, is that he looks great, and also the domain ineedahaircut.com is still available.
Rating: A website that puts your hair on Andre Drummond’s head, just a free and generous idea.
I don’t know why, but I’m finding it very comforting to check in on NBA retirees right now. Maybe because they are leaning more indulgently into their creature comforts than their active contemporaries, or maybe because they have sort of already adjusted to longer stretches at home and their habits are already well worn? Whatever the reason, let this video of Dwyane Wade admitting sweets are his “worst enemy” and then going ahead and making red velvet deep-fried Oreos in his sweats take you to a place that you usually only get to after a week long silent meditation retreat.
Rating: They do not look appetizing!
Running out of ideas on how to showcase his many, many talents in quarantine (examples include loading a dishwasher and making a single cup of tea), Ibaka has decided to now be the judge of other people’s genius by hosting a live talent show. The first show was set to be this week, but crashed Instagram’s live capabilities. A new format is in the works, Ibaka has promised.
Rating: No idea how you top everything Serge has done but here for the effort.
YES there is ostensibly a lot of self-isolation time left for the league and YES it’s not at all fair yet to determine even potential nominees for NBA SIW MVP but what happens when a whole other column might need to get made just to round up what Paul Millsap is doing during his?! Here we have health and wellness, attempting a new hobby, getting your decompression time in AND personalized robes.
Rating: This is Paul Millsap’s Self-Isolation Watch now.
Whether in front of a blank canvas, a hunk of clay or marble, an artist spends their most vital years in isolation, willing themselves to be a worthy conduit. Aaron Gordon is the latest to enter these hallowed ranks of enigma.
Rating: ‘The rose is real/really dead’, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, rose, glue
Tim Hardaway Jr.
A beautiful and soothing storyline continues this week, as the manatees returned to Tim Hardaway Jr.’s backyard. This time, he took the nozzle off his garden hose and dangled it right down into the turquoise waters, letting the manatee have a drink. Manatees drink freshwater, did you know that? I learned that from Tim Hardaway Jr., basically.
Rating: Remember what I wrote earlier about establishing new habits for yourself? Still important, but important to be honest that they won’t be better than this.
Bembry went and got some gas, safely.
Rating: You know what he probably also did? Disposed of his gloves in the proper trash receptacle, which apparently people are not doing. Don’t throw gloves in the street, dummy!
Hart finished a puzzle that probably cost the same as the 1,000 piece landscape one you have your eye on, jacked right up on Amazon.
Rating: Do you think Josh Hart is the kind of person who craft glues the pieces together, to keep always?
Happy to report, all’s still well in Wayne’s World. This week his dog jumped up to give him a nice hug and a polite kiss.
Rating: This one version of Wayne’s World where there can’t be enough sequels.
This has been Buddy Hield for immune boosting.
Rating: This has also been Buddy Hield against scurvy.
This has been Rudy Gay for looking good in hats.
Rating: This has also been Rudy Gay gently assuring you that it might not be your time in hats.
Ok this requires a picture painted, so allow me my brushes (words). Williams did a video showing a wide, slow sweep of his backyard pool and was softly sort of singing the question on all of our minds, “Can you get the rona in the pool?”
Rating: This is a Fauci first, Self-ISO second kind of situation (the Self-ISO answer is only go in pools if they are yours and you are alone!)
Kuz and Snoh are a cute little dream team we didn’t know we needed,but we really, really needed. The maybe husky puppy continues to be very cute, and has found a new hobby in yanking Kuzma’s socks off as he watches TV.
Rating: Pedis are out, puppies accidentally ripping your toenails off are in.
Good to see Frankie Smokes getting some fresh air.
Rating: Embracing the great outdoors and the great ‘fits possible within them.
Miller got his dog, North, a toy that sounds like a small animal wailing for help.
Rating: She loved it! Which was sort of the problem.
Shump took a spin on a hovertrax after dark, with ground effects for prestige and safety.
Rating: He ripped.
Trae is a very earnest, very nice seeming guy. So much so that he got a new phone and gave out the number over Instagram, because he wanted to give fans a way to stay connected with him. There’s even a fire crackling in the background of this heartening chat, which is probably what he threw that new phone into when it exploded with incoming texts from 2.7 million people.
Rating: “Kind eyes, good intentioned hearts, can occasionally make mislaid plans” – alternate Friday Night Lights chant
Larry Nance Jr.
Nance has an “igloo” in his backyard, it’s kind of like a very miniature geodesic sphere without Spaceship Earth siding, so that the tender night can come in and keep you company. He went in there to drink wine, eat pizza and watch Grey’s Anatomy this week, which is all any of us could really wish for.
Rating: Fire up those geodesic spheres if you got ‘em.
Patrick Patterson made literal the saying “snail’s pace”, by watching a pair of snails slime around on his patio.
Rating: The speed of snails and experience of watching them is the same I get watching Patterson play basketball. You can’t even be mad at the joke he set it right up for me.
Enes awoke his inner child this week. He made some kind of gigantic cookie dough omelette (the final step was topping all of that with another tube of cookie dough) and found a child’s swing set on which to swing.
Rating: I know I’ve previously said there’s no wrong way to spend a pandemic but that doesn’t mean there aren’t better ways.
Raptors two-way guy, Oshae Brissett, spends a lot of time studying his teammates. He does this because, as I’m sure you’ve heard, they all genuinely like each other, but also because he has a lot of time to spend, well, watching them. Lucky for us, though, because he really got their asses.
Rating: If you watch this enough times it makes you feel excited that a game is about to start, and then you realize Brissett got your ass, too.
Nassir Little, Gary Trent Jr., Caleb Swanigan, Anfernee Simons, Wenyen Gabriel
The Blazers performance coach, Ben Kenyon, had five of the guys do some Zoom yoga. Swanigan looks the most chill of them all, but then that is the evolutionary purpose of tie-dye.
Rating: How much longer until we all turn on Zoom?
SPECIAL ADDITION: PAUL PIERCE’S PLACE
This might become a regular feature, because checking in on Paul Pierce will always make you feel better whether he is making you mad or happy to be in a different place than him. This week Pierce spent a lot of time in his pool, where we also found him last week. First, he was out there enjoying a wine (glassless?) and a shisha,
Then, he exposed the merits of staying smart through all this, something he is tackling by staying in his pool as much as possible.
BONUS: OTHER TRENDS!
Toosie Slide was big and a big reprieve this week. Giving a lot of guy’s what I get the feeling was more than a few hours mastering the steps, some with more flourish than others.
Julius Randle’s was pretty good, very comfortable in matching sweat suits:
Millsap’s was, as we have come to expect from him, very demure:
Probably the best for overall energy and flair, though, was Jordan Clarkson’s: