It’s been almost two months now since NBA players have been able to train, practice or for some even pick up a basketball. Unless they have a complete gym and court in their house, which some have flexed on us lately, it’s been a while since professional basketball players have been able to do that which they are paid lots of money to do.
That changed this week when a handful of Utah Jazz and other NBA players received portable hoops from Lifetime, a company local to us here in Utah. In an ESPN story written by former Jazz beat writer Eric Woodyard, he shared the process of players receiving the hoops and for some, the struggle of getting it put together.
Lifetime has shipped 69 total hoops to players from 14 NBA teams, as well as to WNBA players, G Leaguers and draft hopefuls. Notables on the list include Utah’s Joe Ingles, Charlotte’s Devonte’ Graham, Cleveland’s Collin Sexton and Larry Nance Jr., the Lakers’ Alex Caruso, Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday and Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic plus WNBA stars Sue Bird and Brittney Griner.
Several NBA stars have publicly admitted to not having a hoop at home since the league’s practice facilities closed down, which is how Lifetime’s idea came about to help fix this problem. The company began contacting players through their agencies.
Among this list was our very own Joe Ingles, who actually has been endorsed by Lifetime for a few years now.
Despite serving as a Lifetime Products ambassador since 2018, Ingles didn’t have a personal hoop at his Salt Lake City home until earlier this month. Even after receiving the product, it sat around the house until three representatives from the company returned to assemble the rim.
“I recently just got a hoop at home,” Ingles said. “I’ve honestly never had a basketball hoop, except like the little plastic kids one. Since I was a kid in Adelaide growing up, I had one in my backyard but since like ‘growing’ up a little bit, I’ve actually never had a hoop until like two weeks ago.
NBA players are benefiting from portable hoops during the #coronavirus pandemic. Jimmy Butler sent 21 hoops to Heat teammates and coaches but Utah-based @Lifetime has shipped 69 total hoops to players from 14 NBA teams, including Jazz players. See details: https://t.co/6xCyr98v2u pic.twitter.com/7EjX5PMXFc— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) April 29, 2020
Royce O’Neale, Tony Bradley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Emmanuel Mudiay, Miye Oni, Juwan Morgan and Jordan Clarkson were also recipients of Lifetime hoops.
The best part about this whole story however, is the fact that Lifetime had to sent a crew out to assemble Joe Ingles’ hoop, and their story behind it.
As a manufacturing company, shipping the hoops was not the challenging part of this process; it was getting them set up.
“The hard part, the biggest constraint is getting them assembled. It’s not getting delivered; it’s getting them assembled,” said Vince Rhoton, executive vice president at Lifetime Products. “When they got there, Joe [Ingles] was pathetic. He had no tools, he couldn’t find a garden hose, and my son told me that he actually asked Joe’s wife, Renae, ‘Were you allowing us to assemble this so that you wouldn’t have to embarrass Joe and do it yourself?’ and she laughed and said, ‘Yes.’
This was actually a little surprising to hear, because Joe Ingles is notorious for his handy dad skills. Maybe that since it wasn’t an IKEA dresser for his wife, or a playhouse for his kids, this didn’t qualify as something of value for Jingles to spend his time doing, which makes sense. After all, Joe gets paid to put the ball in the hoop, not put the hoop together!