What athletes are doing to stay busy during the COVID-19 crisis

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March 19th, 2020

Since Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, almost every major sport has postponed or canceled games, which leaves athletes and fans with a void to fill.

Over the past week, several other players and coaches confirmed coronavirus diagnoses, including New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant, Christian Wood, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, and a handful of soccer players. Other athletes have been placed under self-quarantine or are practicing social distancing to combat the spread of the virus.

With so much downtime without sports, what is a person to do? Below is an update on how athletes are attempting to stay busy during the COVID-19 crisis.

Giannis tries his hand at guitar

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has used his time off to learn how to play an instrument and recently shared his attempt at "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple.

The forward has quite a bit of work to do while the NBA season is suspended. Patty Mills, however, is well on his way to a band gig.

NBA players film TikTok videos

The popular social media platform TikTok has taken off in the past year, with people all over the world — including celebrities — creating short dance, lip-sync, and comedy videos.

Now that the NBA is on hiatus, many players have turned to TikTok to post clever, and at times bizarre, clips of them passing the time at home.

Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant shot a video of him suited up in uniform, pretending to run out on the court, while a recording of the Grizzlies' starting lineup introduction played in the background.

Another NBA rookie, Matisse Thybulle of the Philadelphia 76ers, has put out a variety of videos that include him dribbling a basketball throughout his apartment and building with LEGOs.

Using laundry to work on shot form

Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young refuses to lose his touch while cooped up inside. The All-Star shared a video of him sinking rolled-up socks, one by one, into a laundry basket.

Serge Ibaka demonstrated part of his in-home workout routine and encouraged those watching to exercise in order to stay healthy and in shape.

Drinking wine

LeBron James figured now is a good time to indulge in some fine, fermented grapes, which he posted about on social media. Based on his Instagram story, King James is a fan of Syrah. He's also in search of a drinking partner. Apply via Twitter.

Watching personal highlight videos

In a Twitter exchange with Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, Steph Curry admitted to watching his own highlight videos on YouTube twice a day and even those of his teammates. Donovan Mitchell also chimed in to confess he has been reviewing game tape, while Trae Young dug up his high school-highlight reel

Video games

Devin Booker found out the NBA season had been suspended while playing "Call of Duty" live on Twitch. The Suns star already had a following on the video game live-streaming service, and now other NBA players are following his lead by creating Twitch accounts to engage with fans.

Young, Alex Caruso, De'Aaron Fox, and Josh Hart all announced on Twitter that they would be using Twitch in the near future to live-stream games, such as "Fortnite" and "NBA2K." 

Luka Doncic also hopes to participate, once he can figure out how to set up his own live stream.

Giving back to the community

As athletes prepare for life without sports for a while, many have stepped up to help those most in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson pledged to help cover the salaries of all workers at the Smoothie King Center, while Gobert is donating $500,000 to support the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena and other COVID-related social services in Utah, Oklahoma City, and within the French health care system.

The night the NBA announced its decision to suspend the season, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he would set up a program to aid hourly workers at American Airlines Center, home of the Mavs.

Since then, many more players, coaches, and team owners, in basketball and other sports, have donated to causes related to COVID-19 relief.

Follow more updates on the sports world's response to COVID-19 at BetAmerica Extra.