OKLAHOMA CITY — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made his first media appearance this morning since the Oklahoma City Thunder’s road victory over the New York Knicks on March 6th.
Gilgeous-Alexander, sporting a headband and braids, was in good spirits when asked about returning to play in Orlando. While the country has been without team sports for a few months, that hasn’t stopped the Thunder’s young point guard.
“I’ve been playing basketball basically the entire time,” Gilgeous-Alexander said this morning. “Once the restrictions dropped, I was able to get on the floor and get some shots up.
OKC coach Billy Donovan expressed that all 17 players will be participating in Orlando. The league is allowing players to withdraw from play due to COVID-19 or family concerns. Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Avery Bradley as well as Brooklyn Nets center Deandre Jordan — who recently tested positive for the virus — highlight the few players who have opted out thus far.
Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder are excited to get back on the floor.
“I’m a hooper,” Gilgeous-Alexander added. “I’m just looking forward to being back out there with the guys and finishing what we started.”
It is unclear how long Gilgeous-Alexander has been back in Oklahoma or how long he was back home in his native Toronto. According to Johns Hopkins, Canada’s COVID-19 cases are just over 106,000 while the United States leads the world with over 2.5 million cases. Despite this, Gilgeous-Alexander expressed little concern with coming to America to continue his job by simply taking caution.
“When I go out, I wear a mask and take the necessary precautions,” Gilgeous-Alexander said.
“Honestly I just want to get back to playing basketball,” he said. “There was no second guessing for me, I just want to play as soon as possible.”
Brady Trantham has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for The Franchise since April 2018 and for Thunder Digest since 2016. He hosts a Thunder podcast with Madysson Morris “OKC-82 Podcast” which can be found on all podcast outlets, and is a co-host on the Franchise Thunder Insider’s Show on Saturdays from 10-12. Brady is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma class of 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BradyDoesSports