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Hoops too far for Giannis in isolation,

MILWAUKEE • Giannis Antetokounmpo is performing a variety of tasks to pass the time since the National Basketball Association suspended its season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

These activities include spending time with his newborn son, Liam, as well as cooking and playing video games. One thing the reigning Most Valuable Player is not doing is playing basketball.

"So, I don't have access to (a) hoop," Antetokounmpo said during a conference call with ESPN on Friday. "A lot of NBA players have a court in their house or something, but now I just get home workouts.

"Ride the bike, treadmill, lift weights and pretty much stay sharp that way, but I don't play basketball."

Milwaukee teammate and fellow All-Star Khris Middleton shares a similar story.

"Since the practice facility is closed down, I don't have any access to basketball unless I go to one of my neighbour's houses to shoot outside," he said. "It's really no basketball for me. Basically, it's the treadmill, the jump rope, some weights, and that's it."

The Bucks pair are not the only NBA players to have little to no access to a court. The Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry is short on fitness, having missed all but the first five games of the season with a broken hand.

He returned on March 5, only to miss the next two games due to the flu before the season was abruptly halted six days later. To get more practice under his belt, he told the Wall Street Journal last week that his wife, Ayesha, had ordered a hoop for their home.

Putting it together was another problem, though, with the guard admitting he "got overwhelmed looking at the manual".

As Covid-19 continues to batter the United States, the league, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets are collaborating with Chinese consul general Huang Ping to donate one million surgical masks to New York. The masks will be given to front-line healthcare workers battling the disease.

The Nets' owner, Taiwan-born billionaire Joe Tsai, and his wife Clara Wu Tsai, have also donated 1,000 ventilators to help relieve the shortage.

New York is the epicentre of the crisis in the US, with over 113,000 cases and 3,500 deaths in the state as of yesterday.

REUTERS