This is the other side of NBA life, which for the Miami Heat will take place on the other side of the country over the next 10 days.
For all the glamour of the lifestyle, there also can be more common-man interaction than perceived for those whose playing time is limited.
For many, that means grabbing extra workout time whenever and wherever possible. For the Heat’s Rodney McGruder, Kelly Olynyk and Wayne Ellington, among others, it often has meant — and in this next week or so again could mean — time in hotel workout rooms.
Time working alongside working mothers, businessmen and those seeking cardio and strength for reasons other than for the next potential moments against the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets or Dallas Mavericks.
“It happens all the time. It’s fun,” Ellington said as the Heat prepared to open their five-game trip with Tuesday night’s game against the Blazers at the Moda Center. “You get to see different people doing different things.”
McGruder, who has fallen out of Erik Spoelstra’s rotation, agreed.
“It’s just great conversation,” he said. “You just respect their work that they’re putting in while they’re on the road, as well. So it’s just a kind of respect thing, I would say.”
To a degree.
Because Olynyk said sometimes it can be downright humbling when running into a businessman who is more buff than those about to take the court.
“There’s always people in the workout rooms in the hotel. Everybody’s working for their own purpose. It’s cool and kind of encouraging to see, people in there,” he said. “You’ll also be in there and also see some people and say, ‘Damn, they’re more fit than me,’ some real fitness gurus.”
While the Heat and NBA teams generally can find workout spots at the facilities of opponents while on the road, few compare to what the Heat are afforded at AmericanAirlines Arena or what opponents get for their private use at their arenas.
“You’ve got to get it in wherever you can,” Ellington said. “A lot of teams on the road don’t have a great visiting weight room or treadmills for us.”
Yet while the Heat stay at a level of accommodation that affords quality workout facilities, quantity can be another story.
“You know, it’s different, because we spend so much time in our facilities, where it’s just us and the trainers and your teammates,” Olynyk said. “So to work out in a gym where there’s a bunch of people, the thing you take for granted is here [at the arena] you never have to wait for machines or weights or anything. And when you’re in those kinds of gyms, sometimes there’s only one machine or one set of dumbbells. And you’re like, ‘Maybe I should lift after practice.’
“I mean, it’s fine, you just got to get your work in when you can.”
Among the reasons Ellington, Olynyk and McGruder have been able to deal with their limited playing time is their humility. It also is why they don’t think twice about taking their room key and heading to the hotel gym.
“When you’re not playing,” Ellington said, “you worry that you’re not doing enough. You’re trying to get as much work as you can.”
Even if it means the guy on the elliptical conducting business a bit too loudly on his cell phone, or the walker watching a video on the lone available treadmill.
“You’re in there working out and guys are like, ‘Who you all play for?’ ” McGruder said. “Nothing wrong with that. It’s just people asking questions, doing their thing.”
Olynyk said the work, more than the setting, is what matters — because it ultimately can matter most.
“Because you want to be ready,” he said. “If Coach wants you to play 40 minutes one game, you want to have that ability and stamina, right?”
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