March 07, 2011
Napping, to the great bulk of 9-to-5 devotees, is a luxury. Or, at worst, it's a sign of weakness. You have nothing else to do, midday, so you sleep? What a waste!
But for NBA players that often check into hotels at three in the morning, and usually have to be at work for a meeting of sorts (a shootaround) eight hours later? And then run up and down a court for three hours, seven hours after that? It's a necessity.
The New York Times' Jonathan Abrams has the lowdown, starting with a quote from two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash(notes):
"If you nap every game day, all those hours add up and it allows you to get through the season better," Nash said. "I want to improve at that, so by the end of the year, I feel better."
Nash is among a great majority of N.B.A. players who swear by their pregame nap. Most are interested in its restorative benefits, although a few may just be trying to counter boredom. Whatever the reason, balls stop bouncing and shoes stop screeching every afternoon.
"Everyone in the league office knows not to call players at 3 p.m.," said Adam Silver, the league's deputy commissioner. "It's the player nap."
And this is the part where the blogger gets angry and expects all manner of NBA players to be out with Jimmy Carter and banging nails into the side of a plank of wood, but naps are important.
You expect these professionals to be on point every night, while forgetting that they are often getting into bed seven hours after you did the night before, without the benefit of an at-discotheque night out, while having to be at work two or three hours after you're expected. And then working again, at about the same time that you've made it to your couch. I'm not going to argue that your job is easier than theirs, but you can't dismiss the need for sleep.
The rest of Abrams' column is a fantastic piece of reporting and a clear must-read. So have a stretch and a siesta and seriously Scott Skiles? You want your players to have "a 45-minute nap"? Has anyone ever executed a 45-minute nap?