Blake Griffin may not be in the bubble, but he's hardly taking a break.
After the power forward for the Detroit Pistons had his 2019-2020 season disrupted, first by a pair of surgeries on his left knee and then by the global coronavirus pandemic, he wasn't expecting to be among those in the league reporting to Florida to finish out the season, even if his team had been invited. (The Pistons' record didn't qualify them to be among the 22 teams gathered in the Sunshine State.)
All that unexpected time off, however, means the athlete can turn his full attention to the launch of his new podcast, The Pursuit of Healthiness. With all 10 episodes of the first season available on Audible starting Tuesday, Aug. 4, listeners can look forward to Griffin interviewing experts, fellow athletes, and some of the biggest names in politics, tech, entertainment, and beyond as he explores the ever-changing world of health and wellness.
Speaking exclusively with E! News ahead of the launch, Griffin explained that his interest in the topic is rather long-standing. "I was a science major in college, and once I got to the NBA, I always wanted to just pick the brains of trainers and doctors and nutritionists and physical therapists—whoever we had around that was sort of health related. I could learn something about myself, about my body, about how the body works. I think that's what I was always very drawn to. So, this interest has been there for a long time," he said, revealing that he'd fielded offers for podcasts in the worlds of comedy and sports in the past that weren't of much interest to him.
"I just felt like if I was going to do a podcast, I wanted to interview people who I really enjoyed talking to and talk about what I really was interested in," Griffin admitted. "And that's the health space. So, we tried to find people in several different fields. We tried to hit topics that people would be interested in hearing about, but that could also help them at the same time. Because this world, like any other world that you don't quite understand, can be a little tough to navigate."
While Griffin said he enjoyed his chats with each of his season one guests—which include Michael B. Jordan, Deepak Chopra, Antoni Porowski, Chelsea Handler and Karlie Kloss, among others—he singled out a piece of advice he received from Arianna Huffington as one of the most memorable.
"I think that her message of rest and giving yourself the ability to have an off day— or to just check in with yourself to make sure that you're not overworked—I think that's such a strong message," he explained. "Especially for me because I feel like with our schedules...it's always kind of go, go, go. Her message of really checking in with yourself and making sure that you're giving yourself the right amount of sleep, or you're taking time off to do something that you just love to do, that will sort of help you, is very powerful because a lot of the other stuff I do is so much more physically demanding and mentally demanding. The idea of rest and recovery is a growing one just in the health exercise world. But, it's also a very, very important one."
It's an idea that Griffin's been able to put into practice this year as he watched his season on the court get sidelined in more ways than one. "Obviously playing the game is the most fun feeling. It's my favorite thing to do in the world. So any time you're not able to play it's a huge bummer," he explained. "But, you know, at the same time, when the reality sinks in, you have to find a way to improve as a player and a person. And I think that's sort of what I've tried to do during this time. I was able to get started recording season two. On top of that, it's giving me the structure of being in one place. I haven't traveled [since] March 7th, so I've been in one place and I've put together a really nice routine, and I think that that helps me. Being able to wake up every morning and sort of have this routine and do all the things that I sometimes don't necessarily normally get to do with travel and all that has been pretty cool. More so about making the best out of this situation."
While he's been able to record "a bunch of episodes for the next season, over video, obviously not in person," Griffin says he hasn't reached out to any of his fellow NBA players for an episode about life in the bubble. Yet.
"Being a player myself, I don't want to ask any guys to do that while they're also under the demand of playing games," he said. "I think, mentally, being in there has got to be a little bit tough, just because a lot of times during the season, I think the one thing that you can always, at least for me to always sort of get my mind off of things...a bad game or a bad loss, is having family around, having friends around and that's somewhat limited in the bubble. So, I will be interested in talking to guys about that later on. But, as of right now, I just want the guys that are in there to be able to focus on what they need to and not have to talk about too much, because I'm sure everyone and anyone is asking them what it's like. I kind of want to let that settle down for them before I ask them to really break it down in an hour-long interview."
Though Griffin says he's fully rehabbed and is "ready to go whenever that might be," he isn't expecting life in the NBA to return to normal any time soon. "I think the next season that we play will definitely still be very different," he shared. "From my understanding, I think once there's a vaccine, then I think things will be a little bit more normal. But I am also in the camp of guys who would say, you know, I would prefer there to be fans. And obviously they're not going to do that. So, I think the season will be very interesting. It will be very different, but hopefully, you know, hopefully things are a little bit more normal sooner rather than later."
Until then, there's the podcast to look forward to.
"I'm excited for people to hear it," Griffin said. "My only hope is that it helps somebody, somewhere along the way."
Season one of The Pursuit of Healthiness is available, free to Audible members, on Tuesday, Aug. 4.