“I Put on Clothes to Reminisce”: An Interview With the NBA Quarantine Fits Champ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

GQ: How are you holding up?Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: It’s difficult. I’m just putting a pause on everything. But I work out when I can, as much as I can. Obviously [I have] limited resources: I have dumbbells and I do exercises in the house, and then I hoop outside on the net in front of my driveway. I haven’t hooped outside in a couple of years, but you got to get it now. Besides that, I put on clothes to reminisce and take pictures. That’s about it

What are you doing besides working out? I saw you joined TikTok as well.
Oh, right. TikTok dances—another talent of mine. I’m a really talented guy, if you haven’t noticed.

If the basketball thing doesn’t work out, TikTok sensation is next.

I heard you’ve been working out with trainers over Zoom, too. What’s the experience there been like?
It’s been cool. Zoom’s obviously opened up a bunch of opportunities. But we got a guy with our agency that’ll go on and do little 30-minute workouts. It’s easier than us trying to figure it out and it gives us a guideline and keeps us on schedule. That’s another thing that’s weird with quarantine: You’re off schedule. In the season, you wake up at 8 every morning, breakfast at 9, practice at 10. You have a routine.

What do you think of the different strategies that have sort of been floated for the NBA coming back, whether it’s competing in practice arenas without fans or quarantining everybody in Vegas?
Honestly, right now, I think they’re throwing stuff in the air and trying to see if it’ll work out or not. Personally, I think it’s too early to tell what’s actually gonna happen. But some of them sound cool. Either way, I think it’s going to be a minute before we get back.

Would you be okay playing without fans?
I mean, it would suck a lot. It’d be weird, obviously—it’d feel like you’re just playing pickup in uniforms. But I’d rather play with no fans than not play at all.

You personally and the Thunder were having this incredible breakthrough season. Do you think about losing momentum with the season on pause?

I never thought of it like that, but we’re a close-knit group. And we get together—we all Zoomed yesterday actually. There were 14 guys joking around like we were in a locker room. I don’t think it’ll be too different once we get back. But that’s one of the big things that we’re trying to do as a group to stay as connected as possible and then once we get back it’ll be an easier adjustment. Really just trying to get a step ahead of the other teams.

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