Vic Law left Northwestern last year with an impressive résumé and signed a two-way contract with the Orlando Magic after averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds for its G-League affiliate. Law made his professional debut against the Clippers on January 26 and made four more cameos before the NBA season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Law played in five seeding games, highlighted by scoring 10 points in 21 minutes during his squad’s regular season finale victory over the Pelicans. Inside NU’s Colin Kruse spoke to Law about his experience before and during his time in bubble.
Inside NU: Where were you when the NBA season was suspended?
Law: I was in Orlando. It’s kind of funny. We were supposed to play the Bulls the game before it all ended. I was super excited to play the Bulls, and I had friends in town to watch that. When it all happened, everyone was taken aback and shocked by that. We all had to handle the virus and what came with it in our unique ways. We had seen other games being cancelled, so we knew that ours would eventually be cancelled. At first, it was so ambiguous for what the rest of the season would look like. Everything was up in the air.
INU: How did the suspension affect the Magic from a momentum standpoint after winning three games in a row and putting distance between yourself and other playoff contenders?
Law: I’m sure it affected everybody with the traction we had gained and the momentum we had. Everyone had to stop what they were doing and try to figure it out. It was hard for everyone. For us personally, it seemed that we were finally getting on a roll at the right time. We were a half game out of seventh place in the East and had to play the Nets again. It was deflating to take a pause on everything. The biggest thing was that there was no timetable. We were there sitting and waiting.
INU: How did you stay in shape during the initial lockdown and quarantine period leading up to the bubble?
Law: When it all ended, a lot of us went home to wait it out. Individually, our strength coach reached out to us and gave us workouts that we could do in our homes to stay in shape. At that point, we just needed to stay in the best shape we could because we never knew when we’d be called back. When I was at home, I was running a mile every other day, lifting with some of the weights in my garage and keeping my ball-handling up.
INU: What, if any, doubts or fears did you have heading into the bubble? Was there ever a moment in which you weren’t sure if you wanted to play?
Law: I think I always wanted to play. I think with my asthma, I had some questions to make sure everything would be super safe. Being at risk for COVID-19 hit me hard, so obviously we had to make the right steps to make sure everything would go smoothly.
INU: How challenging was it to acclimate your body to game-ready levels in only three weeks? Was there a point in the bubble where you actually felt normal or in top condition?
Law: I was super excited to get back going. All the work we did was welcome. It was a little daunting at first, but I think we all got through it fine. The people that were unfortunate to get injured, not on the Magic but others, a few teams were victim to that quick restart. I’m blessed to have gotten the opportunity and to have played through it. I never lost [my conditioning], but I was never back to where I was right in the middle of the season when I was playing well.
INU: What was daily life like leading up to the first games? How did you spend your time outside of practice/game time?
Law: I’m a big gamer. I played video games a ton: 2K, Fortnite, Call of Duty. I tried to read a ton, too. I went golfing 3 times, but I was locked into playing. I’d play, game, watch some film and get ready for the next day.
INU: How much did you interact with your teammates or people on other teams when you had down time?
Law: We all tried to get through this the best we could: playing online games, going to the lounge, golfing. It was cool to interact with other people and see friends from different cities all in one location.
INU: A few players have come out and been open about their struggles with mental health in the bubble. What did you deal with mentally during your time, and did you feel the NBA provided the necessary resources to ensure the well-being of players, coaches, and staff members?
Law: Other than general boredom, I thought I handled it pretty well. The mental fatigue for a lot of people was definitely real. Teams provided their own psychologists and doctors to help with any sort of mental health issues that might’ve come along.
INU: What emotions were you feeling ahead of Game 5 against the Bucks, which was ultimately postponed in protest to the shooting of Jacob Blake?
Law: We didn’t really know what was going to happen. It seemed like we were left in the dark. We went out to warm-up and didn’t see them come out. There was no word. League officials told us to go back to our locker room. We just didn’t know what was going on. Obviously the NBA needed to take a stand for all the things that were going on and use our platform for something we believe in.
INU: You put “anti-racist” on the back of your jersey during the seeding games and playoffs. What significance does it hold to you, and what message do you hope it sends to Magic fans, Northwestern fans and NBA fans? Why’d you choose that phrase over others?
Law: With my experiences at Northwestern and throughout life, racism is something that is prevalent throughout our society and our culture, and it may not be outspoken or in-your-face racism, but different institutions and verbal cues and societal norms have become something that are inherently there. I think the people who like to claim ‘I’m not a racist’ or don’t inherently do racist acts but perpetuate the cycle by not calling out racist tendencies or saying racism isn’t a deal breaker for them need to be called out. Saying ‘I’m not racist’ isn’t enough. Being anti-racist is the point where we all need to get to.
INU: What was the highlight of your time in the bubble for you?
Law: Scoring the 10 points, feeling comfortable out there to play my game in the limited time I got, and I really felt like a part of the offense and the team.
INU: My co-editor Dan Olinger desperately wants to know what it was like guarding Bol Bol in the Magic’s scrimmage against the Nuggets.
Law: He’s super talented, and he’s much bigger than you would think. You truly don’t know what 7-foot-3 is until you’re standing next to someone who’s 7-foot-3. He has a bright future.
INU: After having this great experience, where do you hope it will carry you for next year? What are your goals for this offseason and for the 2021 campaign?
Law: I’m going to let everything take care of itself. I’m not really worried about what comes next. I’m going to continue to put the work in and let my game speak for itself, improve my creativity, and become an all-around better basketball player with my ball-handling, playmaking and shooting. Hopefully someone sees something in me, and I can strive forward with my goal of playing in the NBA.