At one point in Laker center JaVale McGee’s YouTube special detailing the ins and outs of playing during the NBA’s restart on the campus of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, the big man is in excruciating pain. His face is knotted, his voice is agonized, and he is both laughing and howling at the same time.
“I’m terrified!” McGee says.
McGee was filming Episode 11 of his Vlog, Life in the Bubble, after the Lakers’ opening win in the NBA restart at the end of July. About nine minutes into the video, we see McGee getting shockwave therapy on his right knee, a segment he introduces by saying, “Hey guys, this is the most infamous machine that I hate with all my life.”
“This is something I really love,” Lakers head trainer Nina Hsieh tells McGee’s camera.
“She loves it,” McGee says, “because it is not delightful for me.”
For more than three minutes, McGee’s knee was zapped with electric shocks from a wand Hsieh moved over the knee, each shockwave snapping harshly into the air as it penetrated McGee’s knee. McGee never had knee surgery before, only a 2014 surgery to repair a stress fracture in his tibia—his left tibia. Still, Lakers trainers felt his right knee needed a shocking.
JaVale McGee: ‘This is Behind-the-Scenes That You Don’t See’
This is the reality of life in the NBA. While the wand zaps away in the background, a pained McGee said, “This is behind-the-scenes that you don’t see. NBA TV and all that, they’re just going to show you us playing basketball, having a great time. Wooo! So wonderful! They don’t show the pain … we have to endure … every day.”
All this came after McGee had a session with the Lakers’ chiropractic and massage staff, and if that evokes visions of patchouli and pan-flute music, think again. McGee spent his time on the massage table getting contorted into near-inhuman positions, having his hips jammed, getting his neck twisted and yanked, and finally having his vertebrae cracked as the chiropractor pulled him down with her knees jammed into his mid-back.
“That was fire, oh my God,” McGee said after the cracking was over. “I’m glad I got that on camera.”
McGee’s YouTube Show Details Minutiae of Bubble Life
McGee has been documenting his time in Orlando since the Lakers arrived, mostly focused on the details and tribulations that come with life spent living in a bubble environment while trying to play a major sport at a high level.
He has featured moments in which he gleefully got some jambalaya from the league’s team of private chefs, showed himself going through the process of being tested for COVID-19, shared video of a pizza party to celebrate the birthday of teammate Kyle Kuzma and, famously, documented the zeal teammate LeBron James has for Taco Tuesday.
McGee, in his 12th year in the NBA and his second with the Lakers, has been the starter for the Lakers all season, averaging 6.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.