Lakers forward Jared Dudley joined SI’s Chris Mannix on The Crossover Podcast to talk about a wide range of topics from the Lakers, how they were playing before the stoppage to what it felt like to learn that the Nets players tested positive for the coronavirus. They also talk about the latest news surrounding the Lakers, what it was like to take the coronavirus test and what Jared thinks about the future of the NBA. Will it come back? Should it come back? Will the players embrace it coming back, even if it's a short season that takes place in a central location, perhaps Las Vegas?
(Listen to the latest Crossover podcast here. The following transcript is an excerpt from the interview. It has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Chris Mannix: Jared, how are you holding up, man?
Jared Dudley: I'm pretty good. I mean, you know, obviously, when everybody's in a tough situation, staying home, doing some family things that you normally don't get to do during seasons so that's been cool. But I just think it's just been tough, man. You're eager to have a season, stay in some kind of conditioning. The only thing to do is run, but still no basketball court, still nowhere to shoot, nowhere to lift. And so we're really, really limited. But obviously our country is dealing with something bigger. So I'm trying to balance both and it’s difficult.
Mannix: You have been an athlete for a long time? Have you ever been this inactive?
Dudley: Never. I can honestly say never a month, because even when you're done with the season and your season's over, you do your exit interview, even if you don't pick a basketball up for a week or two, you're doing some sort of cardio, maybe play a little pickup and then maybe not do a workout. This has been tough because from a weightlifting standpoint, unless you own weights. Now, the Lakers did send a care package here that had a couple of dumbbells of different sizes, a mat, a foam roll, jump rope bands, but that's just the bare minimum. So from a weightlifting standpoint and then a basketball one, man. Every hooper just loves to play basketball. So not to be able to do any basketball work for a month. That's never happened for me since I can remember, since junior high or elementary school.
Mannix: So, you know, what are you trying to do? I mean, you mentioned some of the equipment the Lakers sent over. I mean, how do you do your best to stay in condition?
Dudley: So, I mean, one thing I did was right when I had it, I ordered a woodway. It was a refurbished one. Woodways are basically the best cardio machine that you can have when you're running. It's basically best for your knees. I think brand new it's like $10,000. I think I did a refurbished one for $5,500. Usually every practice facility has one or two, some have three, and I bought one of those. So you try to do your sprint workouts. I had the different trainers send me different workouts, for a long run or choose what speed you want to do or try to do game simulated [speed].
If you play anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, 30 second sprints, 10 seconds off—30 second sprints to try to help your wind. But I mean, at the end of the day, it can only help a little bit. The only way to get into basketball shape is playing basketball, up and down at full speed. So for us, you could do stuff to stay active, to not potentially gain a lot of weight or any weight at all. But for us to get back in shape, even for those skinny guys to get in basketball shape, you've got to play.
Mannix: That's wild. I mean, you guys are all like the best athletes on Earth. So take this time off. It's it's surreal. I mean, one things I want to ask you about was the Lakers were one of those teams that had to be tested. This was after the Nets tested positive several of their players. What was your reaction when you found out the Nets players were positive that you'd have to be tested and that there was at least a possibility that you could test positive for coronavirus?
Dudley: Well, I called—I used to play for the Nets. I called a couple of players to see, you know, what was the deal, when it happened? Because I know a lot of them. For me, if there's one team that I'm tightest with, that I interact with the most is Brooklyn because obviously I played their last. So guys like Spencer [Dinwiddie], Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, even though Kenny Atkinson got fired, Jock Bond, the whole coaching staff still there, the whole training staff. So I mean for me it's like a kumbaya when I played them because we had such good memories of that last year. So I'm associating with so many different players—high fiving. So I get it. I mean, I just knew we were all going get tested. So now the process of the testing you're driving up, everyone has to stay in their cars. All the cars are all spread out through all of a parking lot. And, you know, you have this doctor by himself come to you with his gear like it's in the movie Outbreak. If anybody's seen these movies, he's coming out with his full shield and sticking like his big Q-Tip in your nose. And not to get too graphic that Q-Tip has to go all the way through your nose to the back of your throat to get the swab. So it's a very uncomfortable, lasts about 10-15 seconds, depending on if you're moving, because you can't really move. You know, it's uncomfortable. And then you go home and now you're just waiting for the results.
Mannix: And you, as someone getting tested there. You're a family man. Did you have to stay away from your family for that period time, two weeks?
Dudley: No, I didn't, because I wasn't showing any symptoms, even though some people that had it didn't. And it was something where if I would have been tested positive, I would've then gotten away from my family. Right, technically, looking back on it, maybe I should have just done that for them not to have that, but it was so new and fresh. Like, I didn't even know what it was or what even it meant if you were positive. I know Rudy Gobert had it. He had symptoms. Donovan Mitchell didn't have symptoms. They quarantined him. And so I don't know people really getting quarantined, but looking back on, yeah, maybe I should have. But thank God I was negative, even for the people that were positive. I think everyone in the NBA has fully recovered. I know we had two players that had it, and after our 14 days the doctor cleared us. Everyone who had it was fully recovered and now back to staying at home. But at least you can do walks and get fresh air.
Mannix: I want to get to the future. As a team, are you guys able to keep any kind of chemistry going? I mean, even from afar, there are things you're trying to kind of be on the same page with each other.
Dudley: I mean, I'm not just saying this because I played on many teams and done a lot of different interviews, but this is the best chemistry I've had with a team. Obviously, the 2010 Phenix Suns was right there. Even last year, if you want to look at it from everyone liking each other, you know, hanging out.
You know, Brooklyn was like. But the difference with this team, is it's one through 15. We have a group chat. We talk every day in the group. There's not a day that goes by that nothing's being said. So from a hanging out standpoint, us talking, we have a Zoom meeting that we get to work out. And it's like I said, it's bare minimum. It isn't really that it's doing anything. It's more for the laughs. It's more for the bonding, more just to see how everyone is doing, to see people on there and, you know, say what's up to [Alex] Caruso and [Kyle] Kuzma. That's really what it is. And so it's not like from a training standpoint, it's nothing better that you couldn't do on your own. But it is more of a bonding. So for it, that's the least of my worries. Chemistry. That's the one thing we have over 99% of teams is chemistry, which is rare when you add nine to 10 new players on the roster.
Mannix: I'm trying to picture LeBron in a Zoom meeting or Zoom workout right now.
Dudley: Just imagine a man with a do-rag and a big beard. No cut working in. You see, man, if there's anyone that's a social media king right now, it's him. He's got more workouts, more Tick-Tock dances. So he deserves to show his face.
Mannix: The hair, man, is a real problem. I shaved my head because we're not gonna get any barbers around anytime soon, man. It's just going to be like this.
Dudley: Most people don't care because, you know, no one sees them. But unless you've got do a couple of interviews or stuff like that. But for the most part, man, I know it's gonna be funny when we finally get out of here.
Mannix: All right. Let's talk him for a minute about that. I mean, I guess the first question is, how disappointed were you and the Lakers about the stoppage? Putting aside obviously medically, it had to happen. We all believe that and certainly understand that better now. But at that time, you guys were right there among the top records, right behind Milwaukee, but playing the best basketball, I would say, from afar, of the season. How did you feel when this thing kind of came to a grinding halt?
Dudley: I mean, you've got to look at it this way. The top teams get better late in the season. That's just how it works, because for one, they have different levels. That was the difference between us and Philadelphia when I played them in the playoffs last year. There's different levels that these top tier players, these all-stars, these superstars can get to, and they pace themselves, especially the top five-10 ones in the league. Kawhi Leonard paces himself during a regular season knowing in the playoffs, 'I'm gonna take it to another level, my minutes are going to go up.' So for us. It was we were pacing each other at the perfect pace. LeBron [James], [Anthony Davis], the Lakers including where, hey, we circled that week and we knew that was prime time playing the top two teams, the two teams most likely who are going to meet in the playoffs if not the finals. And so two teams that we've lost to that we keep hearing we lost that we've lost to, once at home, once on the road and sort to beat both of them the way we did. It's not just beating a team. It's how we beat them, in the fast way we beat them. LeBron guarding their top two players, which no one expected. Us getting contributions from our role players. Us controlling the game versus Milwaukee, winning on the road. I just think that for us was we had a five-, six-game lead where, hey, so many other teams are jockeying for position. We're jockeying for rest toward the end. So we're gonna go in most likely healthier than everybody, more rested than everybody and then playing our best basketball. So for us, it's a huge disadvantage. But, you know, that's what life is. You know, sometimes you've gotta break through that and have no excuses.