Cody Zeller was wandering the aisles of a supermarket the other day. It was a rare trip outside the home for the Charlotte Hornets center.
In the wake of the current coronavirus pandemic, Zeller, like so many others across the country, had been practicing social distancing and living a mostly quarantined life. But he needed food. The frozen casseroles and enchiladas his mother had left in his freezer were running low. He was growing sick of the Chick-fil-A drive-thru.
He stopped in the frozen meats section. A package of scallops caught his eye. He had never cooked scallops before.
"But as NBA players, I think we all think we can just pick things up naturally," Zeller said.
He brought the scallops home. He cued up some Gordon Ramsay YouTube videos. The recipes all called for olive oil. Zeller didn't have any. The recipes called for pepper. He didn't have any of that, either. But this was no time to turn back.
A few days earlier, he had pledged to learn something new every day he was stuck at home. He tried the guitar. He spent more than an hour watching YouTube videos on how to build an outdoor deck. "Mine's a bit dated," he said. On this night, the thing he was set to learn was how to cook scallops. It didn't matter how many ingredients he was missing.
"I still tried to make them," Zeller said. "It's good I had some stuff from my mom still left in the fridge."
Zeller knows he and his NBA peers are fortunate. Their jobs aren't in jeopardy. Their paychecks are still coming in (for now, at least). He's thankful for that. But that's also forced him, and the rest of the NBA's player pool, to deal with a problem that's confronted privileged citizens everywhere: How do you pass the time when you aren't allowed to do your job?
For the majority, the answer appears to be by playing video games or choreographing TikToks. Some, however, have taken Zeller's approach. Thanks to a mix of isolation and boredom, they're using their newfound free time to take up some new pursuits.