One of the most annoying parts of being stuck in quarantine is the lack of fresh cuts– and that extended to the NBA bubble.
Initially, we were treated to pictures of our favorite stars with overgrown beards and streaks of grey, but the league knew that it needed to do something to make the players feel at home while locked up in Florida. And that’s where Will Rondo comes in. If the last name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the older brother of NBA Champion and four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo.
10 years ago, Will parlayed helping his busy NBA star brother out into his own business, Superior Global Travel & Concierge. The business’ services range from helping players book a night out, to picking up their kids from daycare last minute. But when the league shut down because of coronavirus back in March, he knew that he could still make himself useful once rumors of a start-up began. When speaking with Michelle Roberts, head of the NBA player’s union, he listed a bunch of services he thought would still be needed in the bubble, and the one that stuck was haircuts.
The idea came to fruition when three barbershops were erected in Orlando, with a crew of six barbers, three stylists, and three nail techs, all available six days a week. Rondo recently chopped it up with GQ to explain what it’s like keeping all the bubble players looking fresh.
“The barbershops are open from 9 AM to 9 PM, with breaks for four hours of cleaning throughout the day. Each [client] is allotted an hour for barbering, an hour for a mani and pedi, and then around two hours for braiding,” Rondo explained. “So we’re not rushed. We have three different locations, so if one location at one hotel is booked, we have alternate spots to make special arrangements for players to get cuts at the last minute on game days.”
Rondo also revealed that some players like to vibe out with music while others would rather watch cult classic basketball movies like Like Mike and Space Jam.
“We have movies on TVs—Like Mike, Above the Rim, Space Jam. We have Beats headphones and portable audio players for the players to connect to them. So when the guys come in, they can create their own vibe. Some people like gospel and jazz, some guys like rap and R&B. It’s just whatever kind of vibe you want to have,” he continued.
Possibly the biggest gem that Rondo dropped is how much NBA players enjoy getting manicures and pedicures– no, seriously.
“There isn’t one player that doesn’t appreciate a pedicure. You’re running on your feet all day, you’re jumping, you’re stomping, you get your feet stepped on. To have someone massage and rub your feet and make you feel good—they take a lot of abuse, and you got to think, those are their moneymakers, right? Their hands and feet,” Rondo admits. “Coaches as well. Once you leave, you feel like you’re walking on pillows, walking on air, it brightens your day for anybody.”