Stephen A. Smith previously went viral for a tirade about how players’ lack of sex in the NBA bubble will be a big issue for them. And even while we’ve already seen some players in need of intervention by the horny police, players’ need for sex and female companionship has seemed more of a punchline than a genuine concern.
But for the first time, a player has fully chimed in as veteran and Lakers player Jared Dudley broke it down to The Athletic:
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“Dudley didn’t mince words when asked what he thought was going to be the biggest obstacle to harmony in the bubble, culture-wise.
“I think not being around a female companion,” Dudley said.
“Your people who are married, you have your wives,” he said. “I won’t see my wife for seven weeks. When’s the last time it’s ever happened? We’re not going to Iraq for war, or doing anything. But for us, it’s you not seeing your wife and kids. I think that’s a huge shock. Even AAU basketball – you go for your week and you go home, right? I don’t care how you do it. … I think (some) people, you have your girlfriends, and I think people that are just ‘free-floaters,’ as I call them. Not being able to have that for that long of a stretch. Let’s just be honest.”
The phrase “free-floaters” is arguably the nicest way of saying “dudes slangin that dick” but that’s some real candor from a guy who’s been all over the league in Jared Dudley.
And I think Jared Dudley’s take is a little more sentimental than Stephen A. Smith’s take or the jokes people have made on Twitter. He’s not saying the NBA bubble will be an issue just because the “free-floaters” won’t be able to get their rocks off without embracing self-love. He’s saying that’s an issue but also that guys may just as much miss the strong female influence in their life that is a wife or girlfriend or mother of children. They’ve always said that behind every strong man or woman is an even stronger significant other. And there’s probably a big component to that for an NBA player. Many guys, even LeBron, are with someone they’ve known since long before the bright lights and lucrative contracts. That, as well as kids, probably helps keep some guys centered in a way they may not experience totally untethered in the campus/bubble life.
So yes, NBA players may be concerned about the tender embrace of casual lovin’ like an old D’Angelo R&B song. But they also just as much need the women in their lives for sentimental and practical reasons. They deserve acknowledgement for their emotional needs as much as their physical ones. And the concerns of a guy like Jared Dudley can’t be as easily solved by the dopamine rush of a quick webcam J.O. sesh.