C.J. McCollum has his third article published in The Players' Tribune, this one titled: The NBA Rookie Survival Guide. It's a funny and warm look at his first season with the Portland Trail Blazers. He shares his first-year wisdom on travel, internship, food, and fate.
Travel is not a joke. I don't care how much you traveled in college, and I don't care what kind of shape you're in. Travel is the one thing you're absolutely not prepared for as a rookie. Now, at first it seems like it's going to be no big deal. It's October and you're hopping from Los Angeles to Oakland in your shorts and sunglasses, taking your #roadtrip Instagrams like "Wheels up!! KOTD!" (Kicks of the Day)...
Let’s say you’re playing in Portland on a Monday night and the game finishes at 9:30 p.m. You’re out of the locker room and must be on the plane and seated by 10:45 p.m. for an 11 p.m. departure. Now let’s say you’re flying to New York to play the Knicks. That’s a five hour flight. But you also just leapt forward in time, meaning you’ll be landing in the wee hours of the morning. Guess what? It’s 10 degrees outside and you will probably have practice at some point during the day. You’re about to get the sniffles, bro.
There's a lot of "hazing" of NBA rookies that is more like an internship, he says, where, aside from carrying veteran's laundry, they get to run errands for them to make sure they're supplied with what they need, like playing cards, even if it's in the wee hours of the morning. His advice to the rookie is not to get angry:
Then you're just asking for more. The less you talk, the less they ask of you. My fellow rookie Allen Crabbe never talked rookie year, so they barely asked him to do anything. I think they just forgot about him. He had a solid game plan.
McCollum's solid advice to rookies on food is:
When it’s 10 p.m. and you’re starving, you need a go-to sandwich that you can make at home. It will stop you from making a panic Big Mac run. For me, it’s the Scooby Doo sandwich. I always used to watch Scooby Doo as a kid and him and Shaggy would always make these enormous sandwiches which consist of like four pieces of bread with a layer of lettuce and onion, then a layer of ham, turkey and salami, then a layer of mayo and cheese. Rinse and repeat until you have a giant Scooby Doo sandwich. It’s very important to get your layers right.
McCollum's last thoughts come under the heading: Bad stuff is going to happen. His advice is to turn setbacks like breaking a bone in your foot to your advantage by studying the games of players you admire. Heck, you might even end up writing a series on what you learned: Elite Guards and Underrated Guards.
The article contains far more than we could recap here. Give it a look!
Hat tip to Corvid for posting in Fanshots.