Amid Coronavirus, Homebound NBA Stars Finding Creative Ways to Ward off Boredom


Times are tough. With the coronavirus forcing most of the world into lockdown, homebound athletes are getting understandably stir-crazy. Having a giant house with a home theater for binging Netflix isn’t a bad recipe, but even with all those amenities at their disposal, NBA players are still taking drastic measures to alleviate their boredom. With the season on hiatus and no gyms to hoop at, hardwood stars have racked their brains thinking of ways to pass the time. Here’s what they’ve come up with:

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis’ guitar skills are admittedly raw, but with the NBA off for at least another month, the reigning MVP should have plenty of time to improve his string work. Did anyone else have the sudden urge to yell “Free Bird!” at their computer? Just me? Never mind then.

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid has used the time off to let his hair down … literally. Hey Joel … Don King called—he wants his hair back. Sixers fans are just relieved Embiid isn’t pigging out on his preferred cheat meal, Chick-Fil-A.

Serge Ibaka

Yahoo’s Hannah Keyser poses an important question in these desperate times:

So what’s the play? Soft or swole? I don’t know if there’s been a societal consensus on this, but at least we know what camp Raptors big man Serge Ibaka is in. And he makes a valid point—with all of our schedules cleared, what excuse do we really have for skipping cardio? Look at Serge getting his laps in (remind you of anyone?). The 30-year-old appears to be sprinting from the comfort of his own house, but I wouldn’t recommend this activity if you’re in an upstairs apartment. The neighbors might lose it on you.

Meyers Leonard

The quarantine life can be a drag, but Meyers Leonard is trying to make the most of it. The eighth-year center has taken social distancing to its logical conclusion, hazmat suit and all. You can never be too careful. Also, I had no idea they made hazmat suits this large (the Heat list Leonard at seven-foot, 260 pounds).

Shaquille O’Neal

Apparently, Shaq is using his time off from TNT to live out the plot of Billy Madison. The Hall of Fame center cameoed in an online class with first graders earlier this week, surprising the teacher with his unannounced visit. Shaq, who holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a doctorate in education from Barry University, has always enjoyed breaking a mental sweat.

Jayson Tatum

Being 29, I’m probably too old to get in on the growing Tik Tok fad (I’m also a terrible dancer, as anyone who has ever seen me at a wedding could attest to), but first-time All-Star Jayson Tatum still makes the cutoff (he turned 22 this month). I think we’ve established I’m not Tatum’s target audience, but in these trying times, it’s good to see the Celtics forward cutting loose by embracing his inner Cafe Disco.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Even the COVID-19 outbreak couldn’t stop Karl-Anthony Towns and his new Minnesota teammate D’Angelo Russell from bonding over their shared affinity for FIFA earlier this week.

Russ got the better of KAT, resulting in a 20-pack of punishment push-ups for the T-Wolves center. Unfortunately, Towns forgot to pace himself. The 24-year-old seems to already be out of ideas, though he’s open to suggestions if you have any.

Trae Young

Whether it’s firing paper towels into the trash or tossing clothes in a laundry hamper, we’ve all attempted the #InHouseChallenge in some form or another. Donning his jersey from last month’s All-Star Game in Chicago, Hawks marksman Trae Young put on a three-point shootout for his 2.6 million Instagram followers, using his silky stroke and four racks of rolled-up socks to swish 15 of 16 buckets (yes, I counted).

Including the money rack, the sophomore sharp-shooter racked up a combined 23 points. Call him the Steph Curry of socks. The inventor of basketball James Naismith originally conceived the sport with a peach basket for a hoop, but as Young demonstrated, if you’re in a pinch, a garbage bin will do just fine.

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