Catching Up With Andre Iguodala

On Life During Shelter In Place
Andre Iguodala
by Couper Moorhead
HEAT.com

First and foremost, the most important question is how are you, how is your family, and how are you guys managing this new normal we all seem to find ourselves in?

I think we’re really fortunate. It’s kind of hard to put into words. A lot of people are struggling, going through tough times trying to adjust to, like you said, the new normal. So I’m just trying to be really appreciative and realize how fortunate and blessed for the position [my family is in]. We’ve tried to keep the right perspective. Before this, during this and after this we’ll adjust but it hasn’t been a big adjustment in terms of how we maneuver. We have a real library in the house, so we have a ton of readers in the house.

It’s really just regular for us. It’s like, ‘Alright, you go outside and play. Alright, you can have screen time for an hour. Alright, go read a book.’ With the kids. For us, we have more time to read so that’s what I’ve been doing a lot. We’ve set some goals in terms of how fast can we get a book read? In one month, how many books can we get through? When shelter in place gets extended, we just extend with what we have in the house. We’ve learned to make the most of it and try to see the positive as far as spending time with family and reaching out to those we haven’t spoken to in a while and making sure they’re ok.

You mentioned there wasn’t a big adjustment but was there a settling in period for you, as far as this becoming normal or routine, after that Wednesday when the season was suspended?

The biggest adjustment for me was getting back to the family on the west coast and making sure everything was good back there. I was trying to figure out the logistics of when do I leave or when am I coming back? If the season is going to come back, if so when and how is that going to look? Once I got back home it became pretty normal pretty quickly. I’ve got a whole setup as far as gym equipment. A lot of guys are on bikes or treadmills. We know the HEAT is all about culture and keeping the players in ultimate conditioning. [Strength and Conditioning Coach] Eric Foran has me situated with things I didn’t have, and we have a daily workout schedule. It’s pretty locked in.

The league had issued a few different advisories regarding team travel, so how long was it until you were able to get back home?

Once it was known that we weren’t going to be able to use team facilities, just before that. Initially it was a two-weeks to a month type of thing of a delay, so I figured I would get back to the family really fast and then get back to the team. Once I got out here, we were shutting down everything. That’s when you knew it was time to lock in, set a daily schedule and optimize your days.

Fortunately we’ve all taken strides in the last few years as far as how we talk about the mental side of the game. I have to imagine that for most guys this is going to end up being as long as they’ve been kept off a court in their lives. There will be questions about how to get everyone right physically, how long is training camp when things do pick up, but what kind of mental toll is this taking on players?

It’s been really interesting being heavily involved in our union. We’ve had really good communication and contact with our players. That’s something we’re really focusing on is keeping guys in a good mental space, especially our young guys who don’t have families and are sheltering in place. They’re not used to being in one place and sitting still for an extended period of time. You’ve seen Bam’s tweets and Bam’s like this is crazy.

At the same time, it’s trying to make the most of that time by yourself. Finding solitude. Get your workout in, be creative. Coach Spo always talks about the mindset and getting a chance to meditate. I just finished a book that was given to me by coach, The 5AM Club, and it was really good as far as setting your schedule and your intentions on how to make the most of your day, get your one percent every day. That’s 365 percent improvement over the year. That’s one of the first things I think about when I wake up. 

Just getting our players to understand that this is a different type of environment but if you lock in and take this type of approach, you can make the most of it. You can come back better.

I don’t know how many know this but it’s fascinating that you are an investor in Zoom, and we’re talking on Zoom right now. Obviously from the business side of things you don’t want this to happen for Zoom to do well. But overnight it seemed like everybody I knew was downloading Zoom, using Zoom. My wife’s a teacher and she’s on Zoom everyday now with her classes. What’s it been like to be involved in something that’s taken off like this?

You have a really good CEO in Eric Yuan. It was very interesting that he started this company in what was an existing market. You had Microsoft, Skype, Google, he was able to come in and disrupt it. He was able to use his expertise and here we are on the platform and this is where a lot of people are communicating.

It seemed like a really savvy move when Yuan seemingly pivoted overnight when he made it free for all educators. Not all business can just snap their fingers and say let’s do this. That seemed to play a pretty large role in where the company is right now.

It’s from the heart. I was able to meet him and his son, who is a big basketball fan and basketball player. I was just hearing about some Baltimore students, where the school system was the place for them to eat. It was shelter, it was food. There’s a lot of things that schools provide that you don’t realize until schools aren’t available. You have environments where kids aren’t able to get to school to eat, and their parents are missing out on work so now they’re struggling with rent. This was one thing to help the kids where they could at least get educated, have some place where they could engage with their peers, their teachers, the people they see every day and look up to and have a big impact on their lives.

You’ve spoken about how important it is to open up opportunities in business, in investing, not just for athletes but for underrepresented groups. Is this going to be a positive story, is there a way you can build off Zoom as far as it being a success story, and build on that?

That’s something that’s always been dear to me, is getting new athletes into it. We are the influencers. You have a lot of the youth looking up to us. LeBron has that famous moniker of ‘More Than An Athlete’. Just taking a little bit of ownership back in that area. 

You had a long layoff and then you got to play ball for a month before it was taken away from you, does it matter to you what basketball looks like, what shape or form it comes back in, or do you just want to see it back.

We try to take positives out of every situation and one of the positives about this is our fans are really missing it. We miss our fans. You see a lot of guys who are excited to get back out there, dribbling the ball in the house. You see guys buying portable hoops. It’s hard to find weight room equipment on Amazon. I was looking for two weights, at a specific weight, and I couldn’t find it. Sold out until July. Just shows you that people really miss sports. People who really love sports are engaged. Our guys are really about playing this game, and not just playing it but at a high-level.

*phone alarm goes off*

That was my alarm to wake up on game day, so I’m still in game mode [laughs].

We have to be smart about it. We’re optimistic that we’re going to get back out there, but we want to get back out there with a good product. You don’t want to just throw anything out there. We’re being smart about, if and when we get back out there, giving us enough time to get guys ready. Our fans deserve the game, but they deserve the game at a high level.

I would like to hear your experience of March 11, and how surreal that night was. While you guys were playing Charlotte, we were able to follow along with what was happening, but presumably you guys didn’t get the news until after the game was over. What was your experience of a night that’s going to be one we all remember for a long time?

I kind of got tipped off during the game that something happened. At halftime we heard [rumbling] of a game getting canceled, in OKC. We heard something about that. You get back in the game and we’re playing, we’re up 20 then we’re down 10-15, it was one of those rollercoaster NBA games. Then in the third quarter I got tipped off, something is going on, this might be it.

I had been following it for a minute, and now it’s here. You don’t realize, in hindsight, how you take in news. On March 11, that’s what I thought of. Every moment now, when I hear some news, it’s going to play differently. Which can be a good thing. We can do a better job of prevention and how to move forward. Talking about our new normal, that should be our new normal as well. Paying attention to information. Not just domestically but globally as well.

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