De’Aaron Fox was impressed with the NBA Bubble but was more than ready to go back home by the end of it.
During a Friday interview on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, the former Kentucky Wildcat and current point guard for the Sacramento Kings discussed the platform that the league has following the recent strikes, the mental toll that living in the Bubble took on himself and others around him, and how life as a young Black man has impacted him.
“There’s no bigger stage than being in that Bubble right now,” Fox said about the player’s decision to resume the playoffs following Wednesday’s strike.
The Kings are already back home after they did not make the postseason following a 3-5 record in the seeding games, but Fox was quick to praise the NBA for its efforts in establishing what has, thus far, been a highly effective and safe basketball environment for everyone involved.
“I definitely commend the NBA for what they did. It was set up great, where the housing was great, facilities we were using were great. Especially for this being the first time, I give it a A. It could have been better, but they did a fantastic job.”
Despite the fact that the arenas were void of fans and the typical game day atmosphere, Fox was impressed with how the league made it feel more like an actual spectacle. He compared it to playing at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“They [the NBA] did a great job with the aesthetics,” Fox added. “It’s kind of like playing in L.A. When you play the Lakers, the court is lit up and the crowd is kind of dark, and that’s kind of how it feels like when you’re playing there. They did a fantastic job with that… The backdrop is a big difference so some people are shooting a lot better than they did during the season, but it’s actually, I would say, a great experience playing.”
But there has been much more to the Bubble than what fans saw on TV. Once the games or practices were over for the day, it became difficult to escape basketball. Players were not permitted to bring family members down until recently, meaning Fox went the roughly five-week trip without seeing his family or friends in person. For him, it was hard to deal with that reality, and by the time he knew the Kings weren’t going to make the postseason, he was ready to head back to Sacramento.
“I was always on FaceTime,” Fox said. “Talking to the people that I usually talk to every day. But it’s difficult. People don’t understand how difficult it is. You’re playing basketball, your body is getting beat up, you’re not seeing your loved ones every day like you’re used to. We were there for a little over a month and I was ready to go. Once I realized we aren’t making it I was like I am ready to get out of here. Obviously I wish we made the playoffs, but we didn’t, and I was ready to go home. It’s a difficult thing.”
Cowherd then shifted the conversation to Fox’s personal experience as a young Black man in the United States, asking the point guard if the ongoing issues between law enforcement and Black people are something he discusses with those around him. Fox responded quickly by saying “all the time”, then continued to tell a quick story about one of the team trainers, who is Irish, who asked him to help explain the situation.
“Usually when you have a run-in with the police, it’s never something good, it’s never a positive…” Fox told Cowherd. “Not only with police but little small things like someone checking your receipt. I go to Walmart, I buy something, there could be three white people in front of me, they all walk by–I probably have more money than them. Most likely than not, I have more money than them–they walk by, the person doesn’t even look at them then as soon as I walk up they want to check my receipt and make sure everything is correct in my bag. I’ve never had a crazy run-in with the police, so I’m thankful for that, but there’s always just little small things.
“It’s obviously frustrating, but some people just don’t understand. And I’m happy that I’ve had people who aren’t Black actually ask me those type of questions who are around me. Because some people just truly don’t get it and sometimes it’s great that they’re asking genuine questions about it.”
You can watch the entire 11-minute segment below.