NBA: DeAndre Jordan says mindfulness helping him weather COVID-19 crisis

Rory Carroll, Reuters

Posted at Apr 22 2020 09:23 AM

Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks the ball during warmups prior to the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center. File Photo. Andy Marlin, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

LOS ANGELES -- Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan is known for his rim-rattling dunks but the big man credits his on-court production and ability to stay positive during the COVID-19 crisis to an unlikely source -- meditation.

The 31-year-old All Star now wants to show the world his enlightened side with his show the Mindful Life, which debuted last week on PlayersTV, a new channel on Samsung TV Plus that delves into the lives of athletes.

The show follows the charismatic Jordan as he immerses himself in sound baths, indulges in exotic plant-based meals and performs yoga with goats to highlight the fun and adventurous side of mindfulness.

"I want the show to be like nothing anyone has ever seen before," he told Reuters during a phone interview from his home in Malibu.

"A lot of different athletes have different routines but I feel like I'm in my own lane," he said.

"I want to be able to share that part of my life with other athletes and fans and anybody who is interested in it.

"As much as we can spread knowledge, it only helps us grow."

He said mindfulness is about being fully focused on the present instead of being bogged down by the past or anxious about the future.

"On the court it helps me to stay in the present because if you're stuck in a play that happened last quarter or the previous half, it can be draining," he said.

He said practising mindfulness has also helped him maintain a positive outlook amid the deadly coronavirus crisis, which derailed the NBA season on March 11.

"The practice I've done before this pandemic taught me patience and being in the moment," he said, adding that he has focused on enjoying the extra time he has with his family.

"Before this happened you were able to think about your week throughout the day and what you had planned," he said.

"But now everything is at a standstill so it makes you think about the present moments and what you are doing right now, because we're not really going anywhere."

EASTERN INFLUENCE

The Texas native said his eyes were first opened to mindfulness during an NBA trip to China seven years ago.

"I got into Buddhism a little bit and I wanted to learn more about it," he said.

"A big first step for me was meditation and focusing on being the best you you can be for not only yourself but for the people around you."

He returned to China with the NBA three years later and decided to fully embrace the lifestyle.

"I just kind of went from there."

Two years ago Jordan adopted a "plant-based" diet for reasons he said had less to do with Buddhism and more to do with his personal health, animal welfare and water conservation.

"That was just for me wanting to become cleaner with my body and helping out the environment as much as possible," he said.

Jordan said he hopes the show will provide entertainment and encourage others to give the practices a shot.

"I want to show people that mindfulness and meditation can work for anyone," he said.

"You don't need hours upon hours of session time. It can start by doing something small and building your way up.

"But I wanted to give people a first-hand look into my lifestyle and spread the word about things that are helpful to me.

"They may help someone else also."

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles Editing by Toby Davis)

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