Andre Iguodala has seen it all during his 19-season NBA career, and the veteran said the trend of players using their cell phones at halftime has taken away from the game’s competitive nature.
Iguodala said he first noticed it more than a decade ago when he saw a young Philadelphia 76ers teammate using his phone at halftime.
“Jrue Holiday is my guy, and he’s one of the more professional guys,” Iguodala said of the current Milwaukee Bucks star. “He’s an ambassador of the NBA. He handles his business the right way.
“He was one of the first guys I seen on his phone at halftime. I’m like, ‘Jrue, put your phone away bro. We don’t what — we are focused at halftime, like what are we doin’, put your phone away.’ He was like, ‘I’m texting my dad.’
“I don’t give a damn who you texting. But now, our last whatever years left in the league, everybody’s on their phone at halftime. And I do think that is — it’s a distraction, and it takes away from that competitive nature and within the game.”
Iguodala and Holiday were together with the 76ers from the younger player’s rookie season of 2009-10 through the 2011-12 campaign. Iguodala eventually landed with the Golden State Warriors and has won four NBA championships with them. Holiday also became an NBA champion with the Bucks in 2021.
The league in the past has instituted rules regarding cell phone usage during games with teams also taking steps to try to limit the distraction. But with all of society constantly checking their devices for updates, it is an almost impossible task to completely limit them to maintain an undistracted focus on the game at hand.
This has been a hot topic for Iguodala for a long time, with him commenting in 2019 about how prevalent cell phone usage was among players not only contacting others but checking their stats or for mentions on social media.
Iguodala’s old-school approach may fall on deaf ears at this point, but it has served the 39-year-old well in his career. He has made his name as a defensive standout, and said he made the 2012 U.S. Olympic team only because Kobe Bryant vouched for his ability at that end of the court.
He also recently commented on how hard it was for him to adapt to Miami Heat culture when he joined them for the 2019-20 season. But he said he eventually realized how some of their possibly restrictive tendencies actually paid off on the court.
Adapting to current circumstances is key for any professional athlete, and the constant use of phones certainly hasn’t hurt the NBA’s popularity. But Iguodala does make a fair point about players possibly getting distracted by outside sources, especially in the midst of a game or halftime when players should be focusing on strategy.