Part 15 of a series analyzing the Brooklyn Nets.
Garrett Temple may not have COVID-19, but with four Nets teammates having tested positive, and a family that’s always been about service, the gravity of this pandemic isn’t lost on him. Little is.
Service has been a part of Garrett Temple’s family for generations, including his father and his father’s father. And with Temple’s mother Soundra Temple-Johnson very much in the service industry as founder and CEO of LA Health & Rehab Center, he shared thanks for the risks — and sometimes sacrifices — taken on by all healthcare workers.
“To those that have to work right now and are doing things to provide necessities for us at home, we thank you,” Temple said in a video tweeted by the Nets. “All of the workers at the grocery stores, all of the nurses that are going in — some without masks, some without protective gear — all the people in the service industry that have to continue to go in to provide services to those that need help, we thank you, we thank you.
“I cannot say that enough. My mother is in the service industry and she has people that work for her that are scared to go to work because of the lack of protective gear. We really appreciate the courage and we thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.”
With over 330,000 coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 120,000 in New York, four Nets tested positive. While Temple told his local Louisiana newspaper that he himself had tested negative, he still quarantined in Brooklyn with his fiancée, Miss USA 2017 Kara McCullough, and their chocolate lab.
“This isn’t the New York people have seen. No people or cars,” Temple told The Advocate. “My fiancée and I are fine. I did not test positive, but some of my teammates did. We quarantined and now we’re staying at home like we’re supposed to. Just us and our dog.”
When the league halted play on March 11, Temple had been exceeding all reasonable expectations. On his 10th team in 10 NBA seasons, he was averaging 10.3 points and 3.5 rebounds, both career-highs.
Since the shutdown, Temple hasn’t let his body or mind be idle. He’s been using exercise equipment bought and delivered by the Nets to do daily 1 ½-hour workouts. He’s also been using the unlooked-for spare time to study for the LSATs with an eye toward law school.
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Of course, that’s after he finishes playing. Right now, Temple — as a vice president of the Players Association — is just looking forward to the pandemic abating enough to safely get back on the court.
“Right now, the health of our fans and the world comes first. Obviously, the ideal thing for us would be play out the rest of the season, but when that would be is unsure,” Temple told the Advocate. “There is a chance this could push back the draft. And possibly the start of next season back.
“I don’t know how we can remedy a situation like this. There is a clause in the [collective bargaining agreement] that stipulates what will happen if the season has to end because of a natural disaster. The teams make the most money on the postseasons, which is the reasons why players’ salaries may be cut 20 percent if we don’t play again.”