Brooklyn Nets' Players Enjoy Time Off With the All-Star Break
D'Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll, Nik Stauskas among others reveal their plans during the break
BROOKLYN – Typically, when the All-Star break rolls around, Nik Stauskas packs up his suitcase and engages in a completely different career across the border.
Over the past two years, the 24-year-old has emerged as a respected sports personality in his home country of Canada on The Sports Network – the country’s version of ESPN. Within that span, he’s done everything from interviews with celebrities like Kevin Hart and Chris Tucker to in-studio analysis of NBA games. Stauskas admits it wasn’t a seamless transition. His first assignment for TSN was a bit of a trial by fire.
The then-Sixer was randomly invited to cover a celebrity basketball tournament and didn’t exactly know what to expect. Then the cameraman motioned to the red carpet.
“He hands me a microphone, and says it’s all you,” Stauskas recalled to BrooklynNets.com. “I just have the camera, it’s all up to you. You got to go get the celebrities and you got to bring them over here.”
Stauskas initially balked, saying he wanted more guidance, especially considering it was his first time doing this type of work. Then he realized this is the job. And he went after it.
Judging by what he heard from his parents later on, Stauskas didn’t have much beginner’s luck.
“My parents were watching and they were like, ‘we could tell how nervous you were,’” he said with a laugh.
But with each repetition, Stauskas gained confidence and more invites to work with TSN. While Stauskas is taking a break during this All-Star weekend, preferring to get a much-needed breather, broadcasting is something that he’s strongly considering doing once he hangs up his sneakers in the NBA. And that’s exactly what the All-Star break offers for those who aren’t involved with the weekend’s festivities: A chance to pursue personal interests, connect with family or frankly just get away from work for a bit.
From when the season tips off on Oct. 18 to the final game on April 11, the NBA regular season is often grueling grind with limited time off. Since the turn of the New Year, the Nets have played 23 games in just 45 days – that’s a game almost every other day. That takes a toll on players physically, mentally and often puts those with families in a challenging situation. Take DeMarre Carroll for example.
As of a few days ago, the 31-year-old had no idea what his All-Star break plans were. And that’s how he likes it. Carroll has had a well-travelled NBA career, playing for seven teams since being drafted in 2009. He is fully aware of the sacrifices his family has made to allow him to thrive in the league. So each All-Star break, he allows them to surprise him with a surprise destination for the time off.
“[The break] is totally for my family – my wife and kids,” Carroll explained. “I always give my kids the All-Star break, I don’t focus on myself. That’s their time. They pick a place they want to go and we go there.”
He added, “I know it’s a struggle for me, it’s a struggle for my wife traveling back and forth [throughout the season]. With my kids, sometimes you don’t think about [that]. So they deserve it.”
Carroll mentioned he wouldn’t mind a place that’s tropical, which appears to be the preference of several of his teammates.
“I’m going on a nice little vacation,” Allen Crabbe said. “I’m putting my feet in the sand and be on the beach. Those are my plans”
But not all of the Nets will be travelling during the six days off. Joe Harris is one of a few players who will be staying local.
“I’m just going to be here [in Brooklyn], it will be a nice break for everyone,” he said before adding. “Mentally, it will be nice to recharge. Get away from the facility a little bit and hopefully come back with the right mindset going into the last 20-something games of the season.”
With the Nets currently in a seven-game losing streak, Harris makes a fair point. It has been a tough stretch for Brooklyn as it has suffered some heartbreaking defeats over the past few months. Having this time off allows the team’s players to enter the final 23 games with a refreshed mindset.
D’Angelo Russell, who like Harris was considering staying locally for the break, agrees with that thought process.
“It’s time to get away from basketball,” Russell said after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers. “You need that sometimes to come back and reflect and realize what you’re coming to do, especially with a team like us. We’re losing, and we’ve got to figure out a few things.”
Russell revealed to BrooklynNets.com that he is planning on using some of the time as a way to continue working his way back to his best.
“No break for me, I’m trying to stay up with my body,” he said. “Trying to stay as polished as I can so that coming back from All-Star break, those first two days or whatever will be easier.”