76ers

Sixers' Kyle O’Quinn reflects in self-isolation, describes how players learned season was suspended

76ers

We’re all probably going to remember where we were and what we were doing last Wednesday night, when the NBA season stopped minutes after the Sixers beat the Pistons at Wells Fargo Center.

Center Kyle O’Quinn shared his experience in a piece in The Players’ Tribune, recalling how he received the news that the 2019-20 regular season was suspended.

We had just finished playing when the decision came down,” O’Quinn writes. "‘This coronavirus is a little more serious than we thought,’ someone on our staff said as we walked off the court. ‘We’ll give you a call later tonight and let you know the details.’ When guys started showering, the p.r. people and [Elton Brand] came in and [were] like, ‘Uhh, we have an update now. The season’s cancelled.

While the season isn’t cancelled, O’Quinn, his teammates and fans have no basketball to keep them occupied because of the coronavirus pandemic. Three members of the Sixers organization have tested positive for the coronavirus, the team announced Thursday. In the NBA, the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, the Pistons’ Christian Wood, the Celtics’ Marcus Smart, Kevin Durant and three other Nets players, and a member of the Nuggets organization have also tested positive. 

O’Quinn explained that he’s been directed to stay in Philadelphia for the time being. 

 

“Just for the safety of my family, I stayed with the team,” he writes. “The team said they’ll direct us on the moves we can make as they know more. So I wish I could run home to my family, but I can’t.”

As the league waits and determines what might be next, O’Quinn said he’s become a “professional YouTube watcher.” He’s been watching some of his own highlights — including when his 15-seeded Norfolk State team upset No. 2 Missouri in the 2012 NCAA Tournament — cooking, doing yoga and reading. O’Quinn has asked himself what he’d do if basketball was permanently taken away.

“It’s a new level of self-awareness,” he writes. 

He’s also thought about what things might look like if the season does resume, as well as how he’d feel if it doesn’t. 

Were we forming a championship team, or would we have fallen short? That’s the biggest cliff-hanger for me if the season doesn’t come back — and there’s a chance I’ll never know. It felt like we had really turned a corner and were getting everyone back healthy. Damn. Maybe it’s better not to think about it. But I have to think about it because that was our goal in the preseason, right?

O’Quinn ends the piece with a message separate from basketball. 

“At the end of the day, none of that matters anymore,” he writes. “It starts with one person at a time. Talk to your kids, and let them know the importance of hygiene. Just take care of one person at a time, one household at a time, and hopefully, we’ll get through this together.”



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