It has been just over a week since Bahamian professional basketball player Willis Mackey Jr. was able to go outside and get some workouts in Carbajosa, Spain, for the first time since March.
As of last week, Carbajosa residents have been allowed out of quarantining at home and allowed to go outside for an hour each day. They are in phase one of their re-opening plan that allows them to come outside and exercise for an hour, and also restaurants are allowed to open and can have gatherings of up to 10 persons.
“That first day back I could barely breathe, but over a week in now, it’s getting better and better. It felt so nice to be outside again, finally, and also felt great to be able to just dribble a basketball, and get back to working toward my goals,” said Mackey.
Last week Wednesday, Mackey bounced a basketball outdoors for the first time since early March. He said he takes his ball with him on his walks and does some workouts outside of his team’s arena.
Mackey plays for Aquimisa Carbajosa out of Salamanca, Spain, in the Liga Española de Baloncesto Aficionado (EBA), which is the fourth division of basketball in that country.
To reward him for his efforts this season, he was named the league’s player of the year by EuroBasket. The Grand Bahamian was also named as the EBA Forward of the Year, Import Player of the Year and was named to the All-Spanish EBA First-Team.
The 23-year-old appeared in 18 games this season, averaging 16.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game to lead his team in both categories. Defensively he averaged 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game.
During the lockdown, he was only allowed to go outside to go to the grocery store and the pharmacy. While he was in his apartment, he had time to get back to vlogging about his time in Spain, his thoughts on The Bahamas re-opening and even how to make a “fire” music beat.
“I’ve been having lot of fun actually,” Mackey said. “I always say how much I enjoy just sitting down and making a YouTube video. The editing process is getting more difficult as I learn more things to keep my videos a bit more interesting. I want my videos to capture the eye even more, so I’m working on finding ways to do that as a creator. I have a lot of fun. Who knows? Maybe one day YouTube can be my next job.”
As much of a good time he is having shooting vlogs in Spain, the forward longs to return home to his family and friends, and also wants to get back to playing basketball.
“Right now I’m in contact with the Bahamas High Commission in London. They are trying to implement a strategy to help Bahamians get home from Europe, so I’m constantly checking my e-mail to hopefully get some news that’s even better than the one I received the day before. As for now, I’m just settling in as much as I can and not getting my hopes up, but being patient and waiting for them to give me the go ahead to go to the UK (United Kingdom) and thereafter, home.”
Locally, the Bahamas government has put a hold on bringing Bahamians home. There is not a timetable as to when Mackey and other Bahamians in Europe will be able to return home.
Until such time, Mackey said he will continue to get in some workouts and make his vlogs on YouTube as Spain goes through the phases to continue opening up.