FUJIAN, China – If you know the name Pooh Jeter, it’s probably for him running the show as a point guard on the basketball court.
But for the last few months he’s been running from the coronavirus.
“I escaped it in China, then escaped it in America, coming back to China,” Jeter said.
In a hotel room in Fujian, China, Jeter is going through two weeks of quarantine as a player in the Chinese Basketball Association. The league is set to return in April or May, and he’s ready to get back to normal on the court.
“Once we definitely hit that court or that football player hits that field or that track person hits that track, we’re zoned in. We’re at peace, and when that game is over, it’s back to reality.”
It's a reality of the COVID-19 world the SoCal native and shoe store owner has been aware of before most of us. We talked to him back in February when he returned to Gardena after his league sent players home from China.
“We just gotta be patient,” Jeter said at the time.
He warned his NBA friends about the virus well before their season was suspended earlier this month.
“Even though I’m telling them this is what I’ve been through and this and that – ‘My season has been postponed,” Jeter says about explaining to NBA players.
“Now it’s like ‘oh. I really know what you’re talking about now.'”
So, what does the return of hoops in China mean for fans in an America starved for basketball?
“It’s so much bigger than sports. Sports are entertaining. What about your own life? What do you need to be shaping in your life to put that in the right direction,” asked Jeter.
“That’s what the focus should be on. You gotta take of yourself first to take care of others.”
His message is clear, if we take care of ourselves and follow the rules, the sooner we’ll get back to cheering the players and games we love.