BLADE IN HAND, Mohashie "Mo" Rodriguez carefully guided a straight-edge razor across a customer's cheek, completing his first pass. It was midday on July 2 at The Cut Stop Barbershop in Miami's Palmetto Bay neighborhood, and people had been pouring into Rodriguez's barbershop since the city eased its lockdown rules. As Rodriguez prepared for his second pass, he heard his nearby cellphone ring and spotted the caller ID: Will Rondo, the 39-year-old brother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo.
Normally, Rodriguez doesn't let calls interrupt his work, but he knew this one was different. So he reached for his phone, cradled it between his shoulder and ear and prepared to resume the shave.
It only took a moment for Rodriguez to know it was the news he had been awaiting: He would be one of six barbers heading inside the NBA's bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. For a period that will last at least four weeks and stretch possibly as long as three and a half months, Rodriguez will be among a select few tasked with cutting the hair of the more than 300 players from 22 NBA teams.
Rodriguez immediately bolted upright and started shouting: "They picked me to be a part of the NBA bubble!" Cheers rang out from fellow barbers. His client, clad with shaving cream and lying reclined in the barber's chair, congratulated him as well.
On the call, some logistics were explained: He would need to leave the following Tuesday, meaning he had less than a week to prepare for a trip that might last months. He would have one last weekend with his wife and three kids, ages 19, 16 and 12. Before he arrived at this point, he had talked with his family about this venture. It wouldn't be easy, but in his 20 years cutting hair, he had been on long trips before. He has also cut several NBA players' hair over the past five years, including Rajon Rondo and several other members of the Lakers, among other NBA teams. He knew he had a chance to make the bubble and that his shop could function without him. "It's only three months," said Rodriguez, 34.