Truth be told, Bismack Biyombo wishes he was playing basketball right now. “The desire was to play,” Biyombo tells M&F. “I wanted my team [the Charlotte Hornets] to play in the bubble.”
But as a vice president of the NBA Players Association, his main goal wasn’t to focus on himself or his team— it was to make sure basketball returned in some shape or form after play was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The bigger picture was to make sure basketball came back and what that was going to look like,” he says.
The end result was the 2020 NBA Bubble, an isolation zone in Walt Disney World in which regular season and playoff games are played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Twenty-two teams were invited to participate in the bubble—where there are strict rules on what players and staff can and can’t do—but the Hornets was not one of them.
Bismack’s not bitter or upset at that, though. Instead, he sees it as an opportunity to improve and come back stronger than ever. He’s also using this time to focus on the Bismack Biyombo Foundation, which helps create opportunities for children in his native Democratic Republic of Congo through athletics, education, and clinics.
“If you’re going to give me this much time, it’s a great opportunity to improve and develop on the little things and to make sure I get the most of out of the year,” he says. “I wanted to get better as a player and focus on the businesses I’m in.”
Bismack recently took the time to speak with M&F about exactly what he’s doing to become a better player, how he’s switched up his training routine, and why so many NBA players are switching to a plant-based diet.