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How pro athletes spend the sports equinox

Troy Daniels, point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers

“I can really relate to football as the players have the same off-the-field stuff to deal with as NBA players do because there’s a lot of [company] politics in both leagues. It’s good for my competitive mindset to see what they do on-or-off the field, as I can translate that over to my performance.

When I played for the Charlotte Hornets four years ago, I lived in the same building as a lot of the Panthers' players like Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly. We’d chat in the elevators so I started following the team because I knew them. I also root for the Kansas City Chiefs. They play the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots in December so that will be an exciting game, especially after the Chiefs lost the AFC Championship to New England last season."

William Jackson III, cornerback for the Cincinnati Bengals 

"I really respect the way NBA players approach the game. Basketball is like football, you want to prepare well to execute your job at your very best, and that’s what I try to do every Sunday.

I grew up in Houston so I am a Rockets fan. I am excited to see the new players they got in the off-season like Russell Westbrook. The opening game is always the best time of the year—I can't wait for them to play the Milwaukee Bucks on October 24. I like to relax and watch games with my family and friends, or with my teammates during the NFL season—we definitely try to get our basketball time in."  

Paul Arriola, midfielder with DC United 

“Baseball and soccer were the two sports I played growing up. I am from the San Diego area so I love the Padres and now being in Washington, D.C., I follow the Nationals.

I’ve also really gotten into hockey, I didn’t know I liked it until I moved here. I followed the Capitals two years ago when they won the Stanley Cup. The matchup I’m most excited about is probably the Capitals versus the Boston Bruins because of the quality of players the Bruins have. I was really impressed with the heavy hitting that I saw in the postseason last year.  

I think I naturally started enjoying hockey more because the pace is very similar to soccer. Both games are very quick, with athletic styles of play, and the score can change in an instant. Over the course of my career, my respect for other players has grown so much. I just respect these guys for putting their bodies on the line. We are all out there every day training and trying to give our best for the city where we play.”

Travis Konecny, forward for the Philadelphia Flyers 

“I am a big fan of golf, I really enjoy following that all year and playing it, too. I think it really benefits my mindset as a hockey player. For me, it is pretty cool seeing how a golfer can step up to a ball when he’s on the 18th hole and he is about to win the Masters or an Open championship. The pressure that comes down to every one of those shots is crazy.

In hockey, if you mess up you have teammates to back you up, but in such an individual sport like golf you must be so mentally tough. I’ve played little tournaments and it is way more stressful.”