Except for being away from family and friends, NBA bubble life doesn’t sound so bad. There is ping pong, a golf course and enough fish in the water for everyone.
That is not the experience that Richaun Holmes has had, but for everyone else, the amenities sound nice.
Holmes spoke to the media Wednesday morning for the first time since being quarantined to his room for 10 days for violating the NBA’s bubble guidelines. A craving for chicken wings did the Kings center in and he paid dearly for the mistake.
“I ordered some wings and I went to grab the wings and I wasn’t really too aware of the borders, but I kind of knew what was going on,” Holmes said on Wednesday’s early morning Zoom call. “The specific area that I was in, I wasn’t aware.”
Once Holmes left the designated area, the NBA stepped in and informed him of the violation. For the safety of everyone involved, Holmes was sent to his room to quarantine.
“They want to be as safe as possible,” Holmes said. “They have to enforce the rules and I completely understand that. I won’t make that mistake again.”
The Kings outfitted Holmes’ room with exercise equipment, including a punching bag, which was Holmes' personal favorite.
“Honestly, I tore that room up,” Holmes said. “I was doing defensive slides, doing little quick sprints as much as I can, jumping rope. We had an exercise bike in there. I was doing a lot to stay busy. I was doing a lot to stay in shape and I always ended with the punching bag. It was a good cardio session.”
To pass the time, Holmes binge-watched all five seasons of the Netflix show Greenleaf. He also had his teammates reaching out daily to check in on him and make sure he wasn’t losing his mind.
“They definitely just showed love, checking in daily just to see what’s going on and see how I was feeling and see if I wanted to talk about anything,” Holmes said. “They showed a lot of love and support, just making sure my mindset stayed well. I love these guys. I love playing with these guys. They’re good people off the court as well.”
While Holmes is cleared to play and rejoined his teammates for practice Tuesday, the team is going to bring him back slowly. No matter how hard he worked inside of his hotel room, nothing can replace contact and game speed.
“I’m following the lead of the coaching staff and the training staff,” Holmes said. “But for me, I’m always ready to jump out there and play. When it comes to hoopin’, I’m always ready.”
There is hope Holmes can get full clearance soon. The Kings play again Saturday morning against the Milwaukee Bucks, but there is no early word on whether or not he’ll be available.
Both Wednesday and Saturday’s games can be seen on NBC Sports California and will be live-streamed on the My Teams app. It’s the first glimpse fans will get of the new-look Kings after more than four months of being away.