DIARY FROM CHINA: Pooh Jeter Describes Returning to a New World

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The Chinese language Basketball Affiliation (CBA) intends to renew play quickly, turning into one of many first leagues that was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic to return to motion. After initially setting April 15 as a goal restart date, the CBA delayed to early Might—however not earlier than American gamers flew again to China and went into rapid quarantine.

When the season does finally decide up once more, the CBA will function a blueprint for the remainder of the world’s skilled sports activities leagues. The plan is to compete in empty arenas and observe an adjusted schedule. SLAM shall be getting periodic updates from gamers in China, together with Eugene “Pooh” Jeter.

Jeter is a guard for the Fujian Sturgeons. He’s been within the CBA for eight years now following a protracted profession in Europe and one stint with the Sacramento Kings. Right here, he describes his current journey from Los Angeles to Fujian, what it seems like on the bottom there, the foundations of his quarantine and his outlook for the long run.

By Pooh Jeter, as instructed to Alex Squadron:

Wassup, SLAM household. Grace, peace and blessings to all. My title is Pooh Jeter. Welcome to my “Diary from China.” Stay from Fujian. That is my eighth season enjoying within the CBA. These subsequent couple of months, I shall be supplying you with details about my entire expertise coping with COVID-19. Are you able to preserve your butt in the home? Are you able to worship God and never fear? Are you prepared to start out focusing and bettering your self? I hope so, as a result of proper now, we see that our lives are method greater than sports activities.

OK, in regards to the final week. So I flew from LA to Taipei per week in the past. To start with, LAX was empty. That was type of bizarre. My flight was at 11:45 pm and I pulled as much as the airport at like, 10:50 [laughs]. For me to go away [my house] across the time I left and get to the airport at the moment was loopy. Everyone bought their face masks on and this and that. Everyone bought that look on their face after we’re going from LA to Taipei. I knocked out the entire flight. I get to Taepei, I’m searching for a face masks as a result of now I’m going to China. All of the face masks had been offered out in LA. You couldn’t get no face masks, no hand sanitizer, nothing. I am going into a little bit retailer [in the Taipei airport], they’d the face masks. I bought two of these.

Now from Taipei to Shanghai, it was like, OK, that is getting actual. Once we landed in Shanghai, we needed to wait on the aircraft for like 30 minutes. They had been calling totally different folks that had been sitting within the again, so all people’s wanting like, What are they doing? Everyone’s alert and on-guard. [After getting off the plane], we needed to undergo this tunnel to go downstairs to get on the bus. Now we’re all on the bus, all people bought their gloves on, preserving their distance, don’t need to contact something. We get off the bus on our option to the luggage declare and there’s an enormous line. Folks bought their entire fits on, face masks, like Star Wars gear. It’s actually severe. We landed at, like, 12:00 pm. My flight to Quanzhou wasn’t till 8:00 pm. So I’m within the airport for, like, eight hours. This entire course of—they’re strolling round, spraying stuff within the air, all people’s asking questions. When it will get to the time to get interviewed and all that, I sat down, they requested me all sort of questions: The place have I been? Have I been in touch with individuals who have the virus? It was an entire interview course of that I needed to do, like, 3 times. Everyone had yellow stickers. I heard you may get inexperienced, yellow or pink stickers. Inexperienced stickers in all probability signifies that wherever you got here from, no one has the virus. Everyone from the states bought a yellow sticker as a result of that reveals you got here from an atmosphere the place folks have the virus. I don’t know what pink means, however I’ve a yellow sticker on my passport.

I get my bag after which go up these stairs, it’s in all probability like 3:00 pm at this level now. Everyone coming internationally, we’re all upstairs on this room. Everyone’s separated. They’re calling your title, this and that, to allow them to take you to get your ticket. At 6:00 pm, it’s my flip to get my ticket. I’m in a unique terminal. I’ve to go to Terminal 2. I get on this van. Inside, there was plastic in every single place. All the pieces was simply coated in plastic. Once I inform you they ain’t enjoying, they ain’t enjoying in any respect.

I get to the ticket counter, someone has to escort me inside. As soon as I bought by the safety half—[there were] extra questions—then I am going upstairs. By this time, it’s 7:30 pm, and I’m like, Yo, can I a minimum of eat? I didn’t actually have an opportunity to eat in any respect. 

I fly into my metropolis. Bro, the identical course of once more. I land there in all probability round 9-10 one thing. I went by the identical course of. Interviews, signed papers. The place have you ever been? You probably did that in Shanghai, you didn’t try this right here, so the place you been at? They do temperature checks on a regular basis as a result of they need to see who has a fever or not. I’m ready on the airport, answering questions, [getting my] temperature checked. I couldn’t go to the place I used to be dwelling earlier than, I needed to go to a random lodge for 2 weeks. All of my stuff is at my different spot. I get into the van [to the hotel], there’s plastic in every single place once more. I get to the lodge, you already know [what happened]. The method—the place you been at? [It was done] by medical doctors on the lodge. Wherever you go, you must be sure to give them your info. They’re not enjoying. They’re not enjoying about this. It looks like they bought the world on their shoulders. It began right here, so now they bought to guarantee that they’re doing their half so different nations can know the right way to survive.

Any person from my workforce was capable of go away me some McDonald’s. That Large Mac had no likelihood [laughs]. I [entered the hotel] by the again. I don’t even keep in mind what the foyer seemed like as a result of they’d stuff blocked off. I went to the elevator, went straight to my room and have been in my room since.

I can’t go away my room. I’m actually in quarantine. I can see what’s exterior by my window however there’s no view in any respect. I can’t go, like, within the hallway. I believe no one has actually taken the chance to go down the corridor or get on the elevator. We’re supposed to do that for 2 weeks straight. I’m on day 9. I’ve 5 extra.

You recognize what’s so loopy about enjoying in China, I’ve been right here for eight years and I don’t do a lot. Outdoors of going to the health club or going to get one thing to eat, I’m in my room all day. I don’t actually go sightseeing or go wherever. I’m in my room or on the health club or going to get one thing to eat. However now I get meals delivered to me, so the one factor I’m lacking is the health club. I get breakfast, lunch and dinner—you simply bought to order earlier than sure instances—and I’ve quite a lot of snacks.

I don’t watch TV at house, so I’m actually catching up on all my reveals. I simply watched the final season of Snowfall, now about to enter Tiger King. I’ve been speaking to household, consuming, studying, doing my very own exercises that my trainers gave me as a result of they gave me some bands. I’m, like, working in place [too]. I get my temperature checked within the morning and at evening. I open up a window for just a few hours to get some air in. And that’s it. It’s actually simply time to mirror, time for studying, time to execute so many different issues exterior of basketball. Ty Lawson, my teammate, is a few doorways down from me. I haven’t seen him although.

I came upon by my agent [about the season being pushed back to May]. And a few my teammates and a few gamers within the CBA. You recognize, the phrase retains on spreading. Once I noticed it, I used to be like, Right here we go. On the subject of this league in China, nothing actually surprises me. I’ve seen quite a lot of stuff. But in addition, I’m it like, coming by this quarantine, if we’d’ve began April 15, there in all probability would’ve been so many accidents. Doing two weeks of quarantine into practising for per week then going into 4 video games per week, you understand how loopy that’s? I additionally checked out it as a cool method of getting again into recreation form.

I finish [my quarantine] subsequent week, so I’ll have time. However we’re going to search out one thing new out on a regular basis. With the virus or with the season or who is aware of. We simply don’t know. You simply bought to flow of issues. I’m already in a state of affairs the place I actually can’t do something. Man, issues occur for a purpose. It’s not simply me, there are different gamers that flew over right here as properly. Now they reported that beginning tomorrow, no foreigners can come into China. So we bought to see how lengthy that’s going to be or what the league’s going to do. Once I inform you issues are out of our management and simply management what you may management, that’s actually all we are able to do. That’s the entire ready recreation. Who is aware of? I bought to guarantee that I’m mentally and bodily in form.

There are such a lot of methods to have a look at it. One factor for me is, Dang, I’m not there [in LA] to be with my spouse and my youngsters. That’s the one factor as a result of every thing else is closed so it’s not like I’m kicking it with homies or I’m within the health club figuring out. It’s actually that invaluable time with the ability to bodily hug my household. Apart from that, I’d be doing the identical factor.

Pooh Jeter additionally runs Laced, the one black-owned shoe retailer in Los Angeles with a Nike account. The retail location is closed resulting from coronavirus however the on-line retailer stays open. Observe Jeter on Instagram and Twitter.

Alex Squadron is an Affiliate Editor at SLAM. Observe him on Twitter @asquad510.

Pictures by way of Getty.

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