Yoga has been practiced by some of the biggest names in basketball. Some may scoff at the notion of yoga’s physical and mental discipline, but it’s known to be among the most beneficial workouts. It’s no mistake that NBA players past and present embrace it. These are some of the biggest basketball stars who utilize this flexible workout.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Always one to match his fitness with spirituality, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may be the godfather of yoga in NBA circles. Since his college days, Abdul-Jabbar has gone beyond the court and weight-room to take care of his body, a trend which may not surprise those who know his past with Bruce Lee. Abdul-Jabbar has spoken openly about the importance of yoga, continuing to urge players to do it. His passion even made its way into NBA 2K19.
Working with a man named Kent Katich, Blake Griffin is also outspoken about his love for yoga. Katich is known around the NBA as the go-to guy for yoga routines and practices. In 2014, the Detroit Pistons athlete told Sports Illustrated he practiced yoga three times a week as a means to stay in shape. One of the most athletic NBA players, Griffin’s passion for the practice is evidenced by his increased endurance, focus, and power on the court.
Although the Golden State Warriors famously did yoga as a team, Andre Iguodala was practicing well before he ever joined the franchise. Because of this, Iguodala was reportedly a leader when the team would do yoga together. Head coach Steve Kerr promoted the workout as a means to keep the team healthy both physically and mentally. Although Iguodala’s NBA future is still unknown, perhaps he’ll take his yoga practice to another team.
Kevin Love began practicing yoga in 2011. Like Griffin, Love uses the guidance of yoga guru Katich. The five-time All-Star has spread the love to his Cavaliers teammates since he first started practicing. Yoga is, in many ways, the backbone of Love’s off-court training.
LeBron has never been a stranger to staying in shape. It is, perhaps, why he remains one of the league’s most dominating players as he competes well into his thirties. James has practiced yoga for over a decade and credited it with the reason he’s remained quite healthy throughout most of his career. The results don’t lie. While James got his first major injury last year, he may make us forget real soon.
Shaquille O’Neal has always been a man of many interests. Dipping his toes in everything from acting to rapping, he’s shown off his skills dancing, DJing, and yes, practicing yoga, too. Thinking of a man Shaq’s size doing yoga may seem humorous. But the big man’s fitness regimen may surprise people who know him for his size and eating habits.
Now retired, Joe Johnson is dominating over in Ice Cube’s Big 3 basketball league. It was not that long ago that Johnson was an All-Star in the NBA. Johnson, who always had a knack for being ready come playoff time, was never shy about the role yoga played for his longevity. His career may be even longer, too, as Johnson will reportedly work out with the Philadelphia 76ers.