Community quarantine measures are disruptive to all and sundry for obvious reasons. When it comes to athletes, however, the change can be nothing short of unnerving. National Basketball Association players, in particular, have encountered no small measure of difficulty adjusting to the new normal for the immediate term. Prior to the suspension of the 2019-20 campaign, they were deep in competition and ready for the stretch run through the last fifth of the regular-season schedule. Now, they’re compelled to stay at home and away from practice facilities, unsure of when they can take to the court anew.
It goes without saying that they’re keeping fit — as best they can, that is. Outside of the ideal, they’re enjoined to come up with some semblance of a routine that has their bodies toned. And even as they work out while in the comfort of their homes, they presumably continue watching over their diet. Uncertainty, after all, goes both ways. Barring total cancellation, the games will resume at some point in the future, and they need to hit the ground running if they’re bent on finishing strong. In this regard, those ingrained in exerting effort even during supposed downtimes have the advantage.
That said, there will be lulls, long lulls, and the players’ nature brings them closer to whiling the time away in pursuits that get their competitive juices flowing. Not a few of the younger set, for instance, have taken to online gaming — and not necessarily in hoops. NBA 2K20 remains popular, but so is Call of Duty. And they’re good. In fact, they believe they’re good enough with their thumbs to put up streaming videos of their virtual exploits. Ask the Hawks’ Trae Young or the Suns’ Devin Booker, or even the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, hitherto alien to Twitch.
Meanwhile, plenty others resort to watching highlights of old games. Some watch their own reels, while others turn to those of legends. In any case, their imperatives are clear: they fight ennui, but make sure to stay safe in so doing. From the Raptors’ Serge Ibaka hosting a cooking show on Twitter to the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant doing his unique introduction of starting lineups on TikTok, social media has become a tool to connect. And, needless to say, the fans appreciate the outputs. Everybody’s down with the program, so to speak, and certainly in for the long haul.
Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994.